(NEW YORK) — A former Oregon Department of Corrections employee who worked as a nurse at Oregon’s only women’s prison has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for sexually assaulting nine inmates while on the job.
The man, 39-year-old Tony Daniel Klein of Clackamas County, Oregon, worked as a nurse from 2010 until January 2018 at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Oregon, when he abused his position of power and access to female inmates to engage in “nonconsensual sexual conduct with many female inmates entrusted to his care,” according to court documents per a statement released from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Oregon.
“In his position, Klein interacted with female inmates who either sought medical treatment or worked as orderlies in the prison’s medical unit, aided by his access to the women and his position of power as a corrections employee,” officials said.
Klein, who was often alone with his victims, would “manufacture reasons to get them alone in secluded areas such as medical rooms, janitor’s closets, or behind privacy curtains,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in their statement regarding the case. “Klein made it clear to his victims that he was in a position of power over them, and they would not be believed if they tried reporting his abuse. Fearing punishment if they fought back against or reported his conduct, most of Klein’s victims submitted to his unwanted advances or endured his assaults.”
A federal grand jury in Portland returned an indictment on March 8, 2022, charging Klein with multiple civil rights crimes. On July 25, 2023, a federal jury in Portland found Klein “guilty of 17 counts of depriving his victims of their constitutional right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by sexual assault and four counts of perjury.”
Klein was ultimately sentenced to 360 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release for his crimes on Tuesday.
“Today’s sentence sends a clear message that using a position of authority to prey on individuals in custody will never be tolerated by the Department of Justice. Holding Tony Klein accountable for his crimes would not have been possible without the courage and resolve of the women he abused and the dedication of our partners at the FBI and Civil Rights Division,” said Natalie Wight, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division echoed Wight’s sentiments.
“The sentence in this case should send a significant message to any official working inside jails and prisons across our country, including those who provide medical care, that they will be held accountable when they sexually assault women inmates in their custody,” said Clarke. “Women detained inside jails and prisons should be able to turn to medical providers for care and not subjected to exploitation by those bent on abusing their power and position. We will listen to and investigate credible allegations put forward by people who are sexually assaulted and, where appropriate, bring federal prosecutions. The Justice Department stands ready to hold accountable those who abuse their authority by sexual assaulting people in their custody and under their care.”
The case against Klein was investigated by the FBI Portland Field Office and was prosecuted by Gavin W. Bruce, assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon, and Cameron A. Bell, trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.
“We know this prison sentence cannot undo the trauma Tony Klein inflicted on numerous victims, but we hope this brings them one step closer to healing,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, special agent in charge of the FBI Portland Field Office. “As a state prison nurse, Klein abused his position and abused multiple women, violating the public’s trust, while doing everything he could to avoid being caught. The investigators and prosecutors should be applauded for their efforts to hold Klein accountable, but we recognize this lengthy sentence is also because of a group of brave women who came forward and helped ensure that Klein was held accountable for being a sexual predator within Coffee Creek Correctional Facility.”
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