Federal Officer Admits Sexually Assaulting Inmate At La Jail

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal corrections officer who worked at the main jail in Los Angeles pleaded guilty on Tuesday in a case accusing him of sexually assaulting a female inmate who was in an isolation cell while recovering from COVID-19, prosecutors said.

Jose Viera, 49, could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced next March, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Viera, of Monterey Park, entered a guilty plea to one felony count of deprivation of rights under color of law, the statement said.

According to a plea agreement, Viera got into bed with the inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center and assaulted her in December 2020.

“Mr. Viera has admitted sexually abusing a woman while acting under the color of his law enforcement authority. His conduct undermined the integrity of our justice system and had a detrimental effect on the high-quality work typically performed by his fellow correctional officers,” said U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison.

Viera lied about the nature of the incident when he was interviewed by the FBI, according to court documents.

Viera, a Bureau of Prisons employee, was placed on administrative leave last March.