Former NJ women’s prison officer indicted on inmate rape charge
FLEMINGTON – A grand jury has indicted a former senior corrections officer at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women on the charge of raping an inmate just over a year ago.
Tyrell Harris-McLaughlin, 29, of Jersey City was indicted last Thursday, Sept. 29. It was announced Friday by state prosecutors and Hunterdon County Prosecutor Renée Robeson.
The indictment came two days after 14 corrections officers were indicted in connection with a violent forced extraction of inmates from cells at Edna Mahan in early 2021 and consequent efforts to conceal what happened through false reports.
Harris-McLaughlin was indicted on one count of second-degree sexual assault, one count of second-degree official misconduct and one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact. Second-degree crimes carry penalties of 5 to 10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000.
He had been charged nearly a year ago in connection with the alleged sexual assault on Sept. 16, 2021, of a female inmate over whom Harris-McLaughlin had supervisory and disciplinary power by virtue of his position as a correctional officer at the prison in Union Township, just outside of Clinton.
“The allegations in this indictment are among the most egregious possible abuses of the badge, and the credibility and public trust that come with it,” said Thomas Eicher, executive director of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability in the Attorney General’s Office.
“Abuses allegedly committed against someone vulnerable, someone in this officer’s care, and someone who would’ve encountered many challenges and risks when she came forward,” Eicher said.
Even more officers indicted
Fourteen correctional police officers were already indicted in connection with the early 2021 incident at New Jersey’s women’s prison in which two inmates were severely injured in beatings while being forcibly removed from their cells.
Prosecutors said the following defendants were indicted:
• Sean St. Paul, 56, of Newark, who was the prison’s associate administrator
• Ryan Valentin, 44, of Bloomfield, a major in the Department of Corrections
• Eddie Molina, 44, of East Brunswick, a lieutenant
• Andraia Bridges, 45, of North Plainfield, a sergeant
• Anthony J. Valvano, 40, of Bound Brook, a sergeant
• Brandon Burgos, 22, of Roseland, a, a senior correctional officer
• Luis A. Garcia, 25, of Nutley, a correctional officer
• Courey James, 33, of East Piscataway, a senior correctional officer
• Desiree Lewis, 33, of Elizabeth, a senior officer
• Gustavo Sarmiento, 29, of Maywood, a senior correctional officer
• Marika Sprow, 33, of West Orange, a senior officer
• Tara Wallace, 37, of Somerset, a senior correctional officer