A former warden of a women's prison in Dublin was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Oakland to nearly six years in prison following his conviction on sex-related crimes.
Ray Garcia, 55, of Merced, was sentenced to 70 months in prison after being convicted Dec. 8 for sexually abusive conduct against three inmates and for lying to federal agents, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Garcia was the warden of the Federal Correctional Institute Dublin, a low-security all-women's prison.
Garcia was convicted of sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact with one victim and abusive sexual contact with two others between December 2019 and July 2021, federal prosecutors said.
Garcia was also convicted of making false statements to government agents on July 22, 2021.
Garcia also lied at trial. But on Wednesday for the first time, he took responsibility for his actions.
"I placed myself in this situation," Garcia told U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who handed down the sentence Wednesday morning at the federal courthouse on Clay Street in Oakland.
"I didn't show strength, discipline or character," he said.
He commended the women for coming forward and said he hasn't earned the right to call the victims by their first names.
"I couldn't be more ashamed," Garcia said.
Gonzalez Rogers weighed heavily that Garcia finally took responsibility. The judge cited similar cases in which offenders received 80 or even 100 months in custody. James Highhouse, the former chaplain at the women's prison in Dublin, received 84 months, Gonzalez Rogers said.
"It was a critical, important step," the judge said about Garcia's decision to accept responsibility.
Garcia waived his right to an appeal. He must appear May 19 to enter custody and he must pay restitution of $15,000 for therapy for his victims.
Two victims spoke at the sentencing.
"I pray I can heal from this," said victim Melissa, who wanted Garcia taken away in handcuffs Wednesday.
"You molested my body," Melissa said of Garcia. "You were a predator and a pervert."
Melissa, whose last name isn't being released because she is a crime victim, said Garcia showed her hundreds of pictures of his penis.
"You played God with my life," Melissa said. "You sucked the life out of me."
She looked at Garcia and told him she wants him to apologize.
In sentencing Garcia, Gonzalez Rogers aimed to deter others from the same behavior, while Garcia's lawyer Kevin Little argued that Garcia should not be a poster boy.
Women sent to the prison in Dublin should expect that "they won't be abused," Gonzalez Rogers said.
As the warden, "you were supposed to be the check," the judge said.
Gonzalez Rogers also weighed other factors when she sentenced Garcia. Garcia has a child with special needs, and he has helped his parents.
"I do understand you are very good to your family," Gonzalez Rogers said. "That gets weighed."
The judge described Federal Correctional Institute Dublin as a "cesspool" because of what's been going on out there. She did not go into details.
But two other prison staff members in addition to Garcia and Highhouse have faced allegations of sexual misconduct. A year ago, seven members of Congress demanded an investigation into allegations of abuse and misconduct there.
Garcia entered the cesspool and "did nothing about it," Gonzalez Rogers said.
"It needs to be stopped," she said.
Following his prison term, Garcia must register as a sex offender.
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