New York, NY - A former Rikers Island correction officer was able to get a plea deal and no active jail time despite sexually assaulting a female inmate in a storage closet.
The plea deal was offered despite statements from the Bronx District Attorney's office that that they will prosecute these types of cases.
According to The New York Daily News, Jose Cosme, age 36, pleaded guilty on Thursday to a felony charge of third-degree criminal sex act. Under the conditions of his plea deal, he will be placed on probation for 10 years, terminated from his job, and he has to register as a sex offender.
The incident occurred about 9:15 PM on November 30, 2015, when Cosme assaulted the victim inside of a storage closet. This storage closet was hidden from security cameras.
Before the assault began, the victim said said Cosme bit a callous on his hand to try and scare her. The victim was not legally able to consent to sex because she was a prison inmate.
After the assault, she said that she thought corrections officials would not believe her, so she didn't report the assault at first. Instead, she 'mailed pieces of her soiled shirt with Cosme's DNA on it to a friend and relative. She told the News that she wanted "proof".
In court, Jose Cosme said that he had participated in oral sex with the victim, who is in prison serving time for robbery. According to the Bronx district attorney’s office and the city’s Department of Investigation, he also engaged in additional sex acts with the woman.
Before accepting the plea deal, he faced up to 50 years in prison based on the original charge of first degree rape.
In a statement, Darcel Clark of the Bronx District Attorney's Office announced the plea deal, and said 'no correction staff can use their position to abuse inmates.'
Clark also said, “We will prosecute any jail employee who undermines the public's trust and tarnishes the honest, hardworking employees of the Department of Correction."