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Former corrections officer convicted of sexually abusing two inmates at California prison

Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, Calif.
The Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, Calif., in July 2006.
(Ben Margot / Associated Press)
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A former San Francisco Bay Area corrections officer at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin was convicted Monday of sexually abusing two female inmates at the prison, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

John Bellhouse, 40, of Pleasanton, Calif., is one of six FCI Dublin staff members to be arrested in connection with sexual abuse at the prison, four of whom have been convicted.

Inmates have referred to the facility — a low-security prison for women 20 miles southeast of Oakland — as a “rape club.”

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In March, former prison warden Ryan J. Garcia was convicted of having sex with and sexually abusing inmates. He was sentenced to 70 months in prison.

Former prison chaplain James Theodore Hughes is currently appealing a seven-year prison sentence for abusive sexual contact and making false statements to the FBI.

And last month, former corrections officer Darrell Wayne Smith was charged with abusing multiple women in their cells and in the prison laundry room from 2019 to 2021.

Bellhouse was originally charged in February 2022 with the sexual abuse of one inmate, but a new indictment filed in September charged him with the sexual abuse of two other inmates between December 2019 and December 2020, with some of the incidents taking place at the prison’s safety office.

Law enforcement declared an unlawful assembly after fighting broke out outside the Glendale Unified School District building.

June 7, 2023

He was convicted of two counts of sexual abuse and three counts of abusive sexual conduct.

“The heinous crimes in this case destroyed the sense of safety and security every human being is entitled to,” FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate said in a release.

Bellhouse faces a maximum of 15 years in prison for each count of sexual abuse and a maximum of two years for each count of abusive sexual conduct.

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He is due to be sentenced Aug. 30 and remains out of custody.

“Our investigation of sexual abuse at FCI Dublin remains ongoing, and we will continue to aggressively pursue justice for victims of sexual abuse at the hands of [Bureau of Prisons] employees,” Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said in the release.

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