6th ‘rape club’ arrest made in sexual abuse of inmates at California women’s prison

A former correctional officer at a federal women’s prison in northern California has been charged with sexually abusing inmates, federal authorities said Friday.

Darrell Wayne Smith — named in court documents by his full name, as well as his nickname, “Dirty Dick Smith” — was arrested in Florida on Thursday on a 12-count indictment.

The former employee at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin is accused of sexually abusing three women who were serving their sentences at the California facility between 2019 and 2021.

Prosecutors say he groped and “engaged in a sexual act” with them on several different occasions.

The incidents took place in their cells, a janitor’s closet, and the prison’s laundry room, according to the indictment, which was filed in April and unsealed this week.

Smith is at least the 6th officer at FCI Dublin to be charged in the incident, which has been dubbed “the rape club” because of its culture of abuse and cover-ups.

In March, the prison’s former warden was sentenced to six years in prison for sexually abusing three inmates at the facility.

Ray Garcia was found guilty of all eight charges of sexual abuse and one count of lying to FBI agents.

“I sentence hundreds of people. I expect, and they should be able to expect, that when they go into federal custody, they won’t be abused,” U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said to Garcia before handing down his sentence. “You abused them. And there was no one watching you — you were the warden.”

In August, Dublin’s former prison chaplain, James Theodore Highhouse, was sentenced to seven years after pleading guilty to abusing an inmate and lying to federal authorities.

Two other prison workers, Enrique Chavez and Ross Klinger, have also pleaded guilty to sexual abuse. Chavez was sentenced in February to 20 months behind bars. Klinger has yet to be sentenced.

A sixth person, John Russell Bellhouse, who worked at Dublin as a safety administrator, is scheduled to stand trial later this month.

Smith, who remains out of custody, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

With News Wire Services