A New York City Department of Corrections Officer has been indicted on first-degree rape and other charges relating to sex acts with a female inmate in Rikers Island, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office announced on Friday.
Brooklyn resident Jose Cosme, 36, allegedly engaged in sexual intercourse with a female inmate in November 2015 and is being charged with rape by forcible compulsion, which means using physical force or the threat of physical force.
Inmates are unable to grant consent under New York penal law.
“Correction Officers or any other staff in Rikers Island cannot use their position to abuse inmates. We will prosecute any jail employee who undermines the public’s trust and tarnishes the honest, hardworking members of the Department of Correction,” D.A. Darcel Clark said.
Cosme was indicted on two counts of rape, two counts of criminal sexual act, three counts of sexual abuse, sexual misconduct and forcible touching.
"DOI takes allegations of sex assault at Rikers extremely seriously,” Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters said. “Today's case is part of a larger set of investigations on the issue that we are undertaking."
The judge set bail for Cosme, who is due back in court Sept. 30, at $75,000. If convicted, Cosme could face up to 50 years in prison.
The case against Cosme marked the latest string of prosecutions targeting Rikers employees in recent years, as authorities seek to stem violence and corruption that has long plagued the city's main jail complex, Reuters reported.
Rikers Island is one of the largest jail complexes in the country and houses approximately 10,000 inmates.