Former Prison Guard Arrested for Sexual Abuse of Inmates

A former Bureau of Prisons (BOP) correctional officer was arrested today in Oahu, Hawaii, on criminal charges related to his alleged sexual abuse of female inmates.

“As alleged, the defendant’s conduct targeted vulnerable victims and undermined the dual mission of the Bureau of Prisons: to provide a safe, humane custodial environment while preparing individuals for a return to society,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “The charges announced today reflect the Department’s commitment to root out sexual misconduct within the BOP and to hold accountable those who illegally exploit their authority.”

According to court documents, Mikael Rivera, 45, of Kapolei, Hawaii, was a correctional officer at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu from approximately 2014 to 2018. While on duty as a correctional officer, Rivera allegedly committed multiple sexual acts with one inmate through the use of threats and engaged in sexually abusive conduct with two additional inmates under his supervision.

“As alleged, the defendant abused his position of power as a correctional officer and sexually abused multiple inmates under his supervision,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This case demonstrates that the Criminal Division will not hesitate to hold accountable any officer who preys upon vulnerable victims and violates the public’s trust.”

“Government employees entrusted with the custody of inmates are responsible for the safety of both the community as well as those inmates,” said U.S. Attorney Clare E. Connors for the District of Hawaii. “This prosecution holds a prison guard accountable for flagrantly and repeatedly violating the law, and thereby failing to meet this responsibility.”

Rivera is charged with six counts of sexual abuse by threats and 11 counts of sexual abuse of a ward. If convicted, he faces a maximum of life in on each count of sexual abuse by threats and up to 15 years in prison on each count of sexual abuse of a ward.

“No inmate should ever experience abuse at the hands of Federal Bureau of Prisons employees,” said Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (DOJ-OIG). “The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General is committed to aggressively investigating allegations of abuse, including sexual abuse, across the BOP.”

The DOJ-OIG is investigating the case with assistance from the FBI.

Senior Litigation Counsel Marco A. Palmieri and Deputy Chief Jennifer A. Clarke of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara D. Ayabe for the District of Hawaii are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.