An Oregon Nurse has been handed a 30-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting female inmates while employed as a male nurse at a correctional facility, according to federal prosecutors.
Tony Klein, 39, carried out these assaults at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, the sole state prison for women in Oregon, spanning from 2010 to 2017. His abuse of female inmates began around 2012, as revealed by prosecutors.
Klein’s conviction took place in July, following a prior indictment on charges related to violating the victim’s constitutional rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
Natalie Wight, the U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon, commended the bravery and determination of the victims in a released statement. She emphasized that the sentence serves as a resounding message that the Department of Justice will never tolerate using authority to prey on individuals in custody.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Klein devised pretexts to isolate some women, and he assaulted others during or around their medical appointments.
In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors argued that Klein exploited his victims, aware they would be reluctant to report his crimes, fearing they wouldn’t be believed. Prosecutors initially sought a 41-year sentence.
Seventeen women provided testimonies against Klein during the trial. Some detailed how he coerced them into sexual acts, while others expressed fear of potential repercussions if they rejected his advances. A jury found Klein guilty on 17 counts of violating his victims’ constitutional rights and four counts of perjury.
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Klein’s defense team maintained his innocence: “We continue to believe Tony Klein is an innocent man.” They pointed out that Klein consistently denied committing the offenses and had passed two polygraph examinations. The defense expressed their intention to appeal his convictions and affirmed their commitment to supporting Klein and his family throughout the appeals process.