Former Riverside County Sheriff’s Correctional Deputy Christian Heidecker (Full Name: Christian Phillip Heidecker), 32, of Menifee, Pleads Guilty To Sexually Extorting Female Inmates

pexels-sora-shimazaki-5668481RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA (February 28, 2024) – A former Riverside County correctional deputy identified as Christian Heidecker is facing prison after pleading guilty to sexually extorting female inmates.

Riverside County officials are saying that the defendant is scheduled to be sentenced on March 7 in Murrieta. Christian Heidecker has agreed to a five year prison sentence after pleading guilty to five counts of extortion, four counts of witness intimidation, and an additional four counts of bribery.

However, the DA’s office has indicated that they will oppose the sentencing. They have said that they believe the conduct of the defendant merits a longer prison sentence.

The arrest of Christian Heidecker came in September, which was roughly a month after the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office said that they were tipped off to an alleged sexual extortion scheme. Police officials said that the defendant engaged in sexual activity with four female inmates.

Both video and still images of the encounters were captured. After learning that the victims were going to report him, the defendant allegedly tried to prevent them from talking.

 

Liability For Riverside County Inmate Sexual Abuse

Inmate sexual abuse is sadly far more common than many may realize. According to the Journal of Urban Health, “Research suggests that rates of sexual victimization in prison may be as high as 41% or as low as less than 1%. A recent meta-analysis estimates a conservative “average” prevalence estimate of prison sexual assault at 1.9%. While the estimated rate of victimization varies significantly across studies, the characteristics of the victims reported in these studies are more similar.” There are many steps that jails should take in order to prevent inmates from being sexually abused or exploited.

  • Jails should perform background checks on all employees.
  • Jails should understand the factors that lead to sexual victimization and predation.
  • Jails should thoroughly investigate all instances of alleged misconduct by correctional officers.
  • Jails should prevent correctional officers from being isolated with inmates.

Both state law in California and federal law criminalizes all sexual relations and sexual contact between prison staff and inmates. Consider, for example, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2241, 2243, and 2244. A jail could be liable for the sexual abuse of an inmate if they had actual or constructive knowledge of past abuse by a correctional officer that they failed to remedy. A jail could also be liable if they were grossly negligent in supervising one of their officers. See, for example, Morris v. Eversley, 282 F. Supp. 2d 196 (S.D.N.Y. 2003). Several steps should be taken after any suspected instance of sexual abuse involving a correctional officer.

  • Eyewitnesses should be interviewed.
  • Medical records should be preserved.
  • Surveillance footage should be sought.
  • The disciplinary record of the accused should be examined.
  • An experienced civil rights attorney should be contacted.

Sexual abuse is one of the most destructive and harmful things that most people will ever go through. It can completely destroy a person’s sense of well-being and safety. Sadly, though, law enforcement agencies will often do everything that they can to deny responsibility if one of their officers abuses an inmate. This is why it is so important that all allegations of misconduct are thoroughly investigated by an experienced attorney. A civil rights attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.

 

Investigating Riverside County Inmate Sexual Abuse

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our best wishes to all of the women harmed by the misconduct of Christian Heidecker. It is important that the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office take steps to prevent this from happening again. Justice is desperately needed for what took place.

Have you or someone that you care about been the victim of inmate sexual abuse in Riverside County? You may have legal recourse. Our team of civil rights attorneys is here for you. We care deeply that inmates are aware of their rights and that law enforcement agencies are held accountable for their misconduct. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support, we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.

 

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