Jury finds Dublin prison manager guilty on all counts of sex abuse

A federal jury on Monday found a former Federal Correctional Institute at Dublin prison safety manager guilty of five counts of sex abuse.

John Bellhouse, 40, of Pleasanton had tears in his eyes when the verdict was read before U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, a juror told KTVU. The judge set sentencing for Aug. 30.

"My clients feel heard," said Jessica Pride, a civil attorney representing one of the women who testified at trial. "Thank you to the jury for listening to their voices and delivering justice. Change is happening….Regardless of a prisoner's crime, sexual assault is not part of their punishment."

Attorney Kara Janssen also represents some of the women Bellhouse assaulted.

"This verdict is one step toward justice," she said, "but sexual assault and harassment continue at FCI Dublin. Bellhouse is just one of many and this will continue to happen until BOP can address the rampant misconduct in its ranks." 

Bellhouse was charged with five counts of sex abuse involving two women, Ana and Genesis, from 2019 to 2020. 

Another woman, Cristina, testified at trial that Bellhouse inserted his fingers into her genitals after a shower and grabbed her breasts through her cell window, though the U.S. Attorney's Office did not file formal charges as it pertained to her. 

Ana testified that she also wrote love notes to Bellhouse and performed oral sex on him. In exchange, he gave her yarn, compliments and gold ball earrings. 

Genesis testified that he sexually harassed her for months, solicited her for sex and touched her breasts and thighs. 

Ana asked for a U-visa to help her stay in the country and Genesis filed a separate civil suit against Bellhouse. 

Bellhouse is one of six FCI Dublin correctional officers to be charged with sex crimes – and the fifth so far to be convicted. 

He is the second to go to trial and be found guilty. 

Former FCI Dublin Warden Ray Garcia was found guilty in December of eight counts of sex abuse and one count of lying to the FBI. He was sentenced to nearly six years in prison. 

The other three officers have all pleaded guilty. The sixth, Darrell "Dirty Dick" Smith was arrested last month and has not yet entered a plea. 

Both Bellhouse and Garcia had defense strategies that painted the women as lying, convicted felons whose testimony shouldn't be believed.

In Bellhouse's case, defense attorneys Shaffy Moeel and Kathryn Ross, also said the women were motivated to make a lot of money in civil cases against Bellhouse and some provided testimony just to prevent being deported.

One juror, who asked not to be identified, spoke to KTVU outside of court.

He said the defense didn't prove its case regarding either of those theories. 

"We just didn't buy it," he said. 

Many of the women said they were not sharing their sex abuse stories for money; they just wanted the illegal sexual behavior to stop. 

The same was true for one of the women who was hoping to get a special visa to stop her deportation – it was a factor in their decision-making, he said, but her story was believable enough without her getting a U-visa. 

The juror also said he didn't feel the defense proved its case when the attorneys argued that all the victims knew and conspired with each other in a "den of gossip." The juror said that the evidence showed many of the women didn't even know each other. 

Overall, the juror said that he felt the prosecution did a good job and was very well organized, despite not charging a crime for Cristina's allegation.

"We were all confused by that," he said. 

Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at lisa.fernandez@fox.com or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez