DUBLIN, Calif. - The former warden of the Federal Correctional Institute ot Dublin intends to testify at his sex abuse trial, his attorney told a federal judge on Monday in court just before jury selection began.
It's not yet known what Ray J. Garcia, 55, of Merced, will say in his defense.
But his attorney, James Reilly, told U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers that he is "virtually certain" his client will speak on his own behalf when his trial starts on Monday.
Other than that, Garcia did not say anything publicly in court ahead of his jury selection.
"This doesn't surprise me," former FCI Dublin correctional officer Tess Korth said when she was told of the news. "He's very arrogant. He'll try to charm the jury. He'll probably say he was set up."
Garcia and Reilly have routinely declined comment to KTVU. On Monday, Garcia, wearing a silver suit and black horn-rimmed glasses, appeared to turn his back on this reporter in the courtroom.
Garcia is one of five correctional officers charged with sex crimes at the all-women's prison. He has consistently pleaded not guilty.
The U.S. Attorney's Office has charged him in an eight-count superseding indictment, alleging he took nude photos of incarcerated women, sent them pictures of his penis and often gave them candy to groom them for more sexual abuse.
Prosecutors produced an evidence list showing they have more than 300 items to show the jury, including 27 of Garcia's penis found on his prison-issued cell phone, recorded phone calls, naked photographs of the women and calendar notations.
Prosecutors also outlined what the three victims will testify to, including the first woman who will say that in a sexual relationship with Garcia from approximately December 2019 to March 2020. One time, she will testify, he kissed her, grabbed her breasts, pulled her pants down and made him stroke her in the visitor's bathroom.
As soon as she arrived there, Garcia began flattering her, giving her candy and offering to transfer to a facility closer to her family. Specifically, he handed her a candy cane and ordered her to insert it into her vagina. Another time, he threw candy at her feet after she stripped for him.
She will also testify that Garcia made her undress for him while he did his rounds and he took photographs of her on his cellphone. He showed her several photographs of his penis; at least one of them had semen coming out of it, prosecutors said.
In an earlier interview, Susan Beaty, an attorney with Centro Legal de la Raza in Oakland, who is representing some women involved in the case, said this trial is very significant.
"It's not often that a warden gets caught with a government computer and phone full of pornographic images of incarcerated people," Beaty said in a prior interview. "I think the sort of salaciousness of his conduct is part of what drew attention to Dublin. And I think once people started to pull the curtains back, it became very clear that, you know, the warden was just the tip of the iceberg and that this is a deep, systemic issue that has pervaded Dublin for years."
Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez