DUBLIN, Calif. - When the trial against former the FCI Dublin warden begins at the end of this month, Yvonne Palmore of Hayward will be watching very closely.
She is not formally part of the sex abuse charges against Ray J. Garcia, 55, of Merced, where federal prosecutors accuse of forcing women to get naked, fondling them and then taking their nude pictures on his prison-issued cell phone.
But in an interview, Palmore said she is a victim of some of his abuse, too. She is one of nearly 40 women who have told KTVU they were survivors of sexual abuse inside the Dublin prison, or witnessed the abuse and then were retaliated against for reporting it.
Palmore was incarcerated at the all-women's prison in Dublin in 2018 and 2019, when Garcia was the associate warden.
Speaking emotionally, Palmore recalled a time when several correctional officers beat her up for reporting abuse by a female officer, who was angry with her for refusing to take medications to stop seizures – a problem she said she didn't suffer from.
When she came to, Palmore said she was lying on the floor without clothes. She awoke to find correctional officers standing over her. Garcia was there, too.
"Garcia definitely stood over me while I was butt naked," Palmore recalled. "He had on black shoes, black pants, a burgundy shirt and a black cell phone. He stood over me with a grin in his on his face and took pictures of my body. He did that. And it was the talk of the prison."
She said she could hear others saying, "Ms. P. Ms. P. he's taking pictures of your body naked."
Garcia's defense attorney, James Reilly, has declined multiple requests for comment as his trial is set to take place on Nov. 28 at the U.S. District Court in Oakland.
Garcia has maintained his innocence and plans to fight the eight-count superseding indictment, accusing him of sexual abuse of a ward and sexual abusive contact of three women. He is also charged with making false statements to a government agency. He is specifically charged with the sex abuse of three women, identified in court records as K.D. and M.M., and CV.
Eleven more women who are incarcerated at FCI Dublin are also on the witness list to testify for the prosecution.
Prosecutors also provided a list of evidence they will introduce at trial including recorded phone calls, naked photographs of the women, photos of Garcia's penis found on his prison cellphone, and calendar notations.
Garcia is the most high-profile of the five correctional officers charged with sex crimes at FCI Dublin – the most sex crime charges of any prison in the United States.
For Palmore, reliving what happened to her is both traumatic and therapeutic.
"This is a nightmare," she said. "This has impacted my life in ways that you could never imagine."
She said starting her life over now that she is released from prison is a "struggle every day. There's not a minute, second or hour, day or night, that passes that I don't think about what happened to me."
She said she has since been diagnosed with PTSD, anger issues, depression, paranoia and schizophrenia.
While she is now on medication and improving slightly, the problems she suffered at FCI Dublin – the physical and emotional abuse – always remain.
So she wants to speak up in the hopes that her story will help others.
"I'm advocating for the women who are there, who are scared to speak up, who are scared to come forward and tell their truth," Palmore said. "Because I'm going to tell mine."
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.