Former prisoner transport guard admits to sexually assaulting inmates
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A former prisoner transport guard is admitting to raping inmates in his custody.
Marquet Johnson is now facing up to life in prison. Johnson was driving through Albuquerque when he raped an inmate in 2019. He took a plea deal Monday in federal court.
NBC affiliates in Denver and Minneapolis discovered a dark side to what can happen on cross-country trips by underregulated transport companies.
“There is no more vulnerable custodial situation than this. Nobody else watching, they are mobile. It’s a terrifying thing to think about being in that situation. That there was just nobody for her to turn to,” said Laura Schauer Ives, an attorney representing a sexual assault survivor.
Johnson was working as a transport guard for Inmate Services Corporation in 2019.
Schauer Ives says he picked up her client – we’ll refer to her by her initials, TP – in Santa Fe bound for Delta County Detention Facility in Colorado.
But at a rest stop near MDC in Albuquerque, TP says Johnson raped her – threatening her with his gun.
“These companies are underregulated. They’re not even meeting the minimum standards that we set for jails, and it’s just not a punishment or reasonable for a human to be raped because they are accused of a crime,” said Schauer Ives.
On Monday, Johnson pled guilty in federal court. But TP was just one of close to a dozen other victims who told federal investigators similar stories. Six women reported their rape after TP.
“To identify 11 rape victims from one man, he just worked there a year. He worked there a year, he was doing this all the time,” Schauer Ives said.
The plea sets a sentencing range of 27 to 30 years in prison, but it also means Johnson will not face additional charges for those other victims.
Still, Schauer Ives says it’s a win.
“They will not have the charges be in their name, but the 27 to 30 years contemplates that he is a serial rapist,” Schauer Ives said.
She says this case is an indication of a much bigger problem – one that needs even more attention and regulation than ever before.
“In my estimation, these companies just shouldn’t exist. This should be the work of the government and actual government actors who are held responsible,” said Schauer Ives.
Schauer Ives says her client is still owed $6 million as a result of her civil lawsuit against Johnson and the company where he worked.