Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wisconsin prison guard charged with sexual misconduct

Christine Killoran-Pulver, 45, of Portage, Wi was charged with having sex with an inmate and providing him with sodas, snacks, and magazines during his stay at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Columbia County, Wisconsin. The 8 year veteran, who worked as a relief officer in the prison, was charged after an internal investigation for a policy violation led to an investigation by the Columbia County Sheriff's office, according to Detective Sgt. Daniel Garrigan of the Columbia County Sheriff's Department.

The investigation revealed that Killoran-Pulver had sexual contact with an inmate, first at CCI in Portage and continuing at Waupun Correctional Institution after the inmate was transferred, Garrigan said.

"She continued to communicate with this one inmate in code," arranging meetings with him, Garrigan said.

Garrigan also went on the record as stating that all sexual encounters with guards and inmates are considered to be sexual assault, and that rule is "Corrections 101."

"Based on the law, consent is impossible because of the power that guards have over inmates. There is no such thing as 'consensual sex' in this situation. Her actions give a bad name to corrections officers and law enforcement in general."

Killoran-Pulver is not accused of forcing the inmate to perform the sex acts, but Wisconsin law does not allow a prisoner to give consent to a prison staff member to have sexual relations. The laws are similar to those that handle consensual sexual encounters between adults and children.
Killoran-Pulver also brought items such as magazines, soda, popcorn and potato chips to the inmate, he said. Such activities are illegal and can jeopardize the security of the prison, he said.
"Someone showing special treatment for one inmate — it can cause all kinds of problems," Garrigan said.

Department of Corrections public information director John Dipko said that Killoran-Pulver was placed on administrative leave Monday, the day before the charges, and that she was the second CCI employee to be charged with sexual misconduct with inmates.

Cafeteria worker Christine Wodill, 42, of Beaver Dam, was sentenced to two years of probation after she pleaded no contest in November to a lesser charge of delivering tobacco to an inmate; a charge of sexual assault by correctional staff was dismissed. She was accused of sexually assaulting an inmate between March and August 2007, allegedly in the freezer at the prison.

Such misconduct is rare, Dipko said, considering the number of employees at the prison.
"Each instance is not reflective of the professionalism of the vast majority of the staff," he said. CCI employs more than 350 people, including 161 corrections officers, he said.

The incidents will prompt a review of policies and procedures within the prison, Dipko said.
"Any time an incident happens involving a staff member, we take a thorough look internally to see what, if anything, can be done," he said.

Garrigan said Killoran-Pulver's alleged actions were "unprofessional."

"She just fell victim to foolishness (and) let herself get complacent," he said.

She will make her initial appearance in court this week, he said.

Killoran-Pulver's official charges are second-degree sexual assault of an inmate, delivery of articles to inmates and misconduct in public office.

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