A Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Deputy arrested after allegedly engaging in “consensual” sex with two female inmates at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond may actually have violated standards established for a more egregious “rape under color of authority” charge – using his power and standing as a lawman to force the women into sex.
Statements the women made during an interview with the San
Francisco Chronicle and internal sheriff’s department documents accessed by the Bay Area News Group suggest that while the department was attempting to portray a sexual encounter between 26-year-old deputy Patrick Morseman and two women inmates as consensual, sheriff’s investigators looking into the case had come to a different conclusion.
Records obtained by BANG included an affidavit filed by a detective who wrote that Morseman had committed “multiple violations” of rape and oral copulation under threat from a public official – setting up a jailhouse “violation” from which the women could only escape punishment by engaging in sex with him.
Accounts given by the women to investigators, a jail nurse, and a Chronicle reporter paint a much darker picture than was actually given shortly after the incident occurred March 31, the women saying Morseman gave them permission to visit each other’s cells, returning early the following morning saying they had violated jail rules by being together and could get in trouble. The women said the deputy returned a short time later, turned off the lights, shut the cell door and demanded sex – allegedly forcing one woman to orally copulate him before having vaginal sex with them both.
Internal documents reportedly indicate Morseman asking the women what he has to do to keep from talking about the attack, the women reportedly asking for $1,000 to be split between them – along with cigarettes. Investigators said Morseman later deposited $300 into one woman’s “account” – though it was not said if it was her personal bank account or jail commissary.
Cameras inside the detention facility reportedly captured Morseman entering the cell where the two women were confined at about 1:15 a.m., then leaving – only to return roughly an hour later without his equipment belt, entering the cell, and closing the door behind him.
A public account of the incident first surfaced April 5 when Sheriff David Livingston issued a statement detailing his department’s investigation of the incident and Morseman’s arrest on suspicion of “engaging in sexual activity with a consenting adult in a detention facility.”
“The actions of this one deputy are criminal, offensive and do not reflect on the good work of the other one-thousand employees of the Office of the Sheriff,” Livingston wrote. “We will work closely with the District Attorney to see the deputy is held accountable and make every effort to regain the public trust we work so hard to earn.”
Morseman posted $100,000 bail and was released one day after his arrest. He is currently on placed on administrative leave and sheriff officials say they are working to terminate him.