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August 17, 10

NEWS / Prison Dentist Sentenced for Sexual Contact with an Inmate

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Godfrey Onugha, a dentist working at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee, was sentenced yesterday to five months’ imprisonment, five months of home detention and a $3000 fine for sexual abuse of an inmate within a federal prison, announced United States Attorney Pamela C. Marsh, Northern District of Florida.

Onugha (50), of Tallahassee, pled guilty on May 27, 2010, in United States District Court to one count of sexual abuse of a ward. In January of this year, Onugha engaged in oral sex with a female inmate in the x-ray room of the dental unit in the prison. The DNA profile developed from a semen sample on the inmate’s shirt matched the DNA profile of the defendant. Onugha claimed that the encounter was consensual and was initiated by the inmate. The victim claimed that Onugha forced himself on her.

In addition to the prison term, Onugha will also be required to serve a term of five years’ supervised release following his release from custody.

“Staff sexual abuse of prisoners has severe consequences for victims, undermines the safety and security of prisons, and can lead to other crimes,” said Ms. Marsh. “During the past five years, Congress has recognized the serious problem posed by even consensual sexual contact between staff and inmates, which previously was punished as a misdemeanor, and has raised the maximum penalty for that offense from one to 15 years.”

This case was investigated by the United States Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, the Special Investigations Branch of the Office of Inspector General, United States Department of Health and Human Services, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karen Rhew-Miller.




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