Corrections Officer Found Not Liable in 'Booty Bandit' Trial; Verdict Undermines Accountability in Corrections, SPR Says

October 22, 2003

LOS ANGELES - A Fresno jury on Tuesday cleared three corrections officers of liability in the March 1993 "Booty Bandit" rape of inmate Eddie Webb Dillard by a fellow prisoner, a verdict the nonprofit human rights group Stop Prisoner Rape (PR) said "undermines accountability for sexual assault behind bars."

The jury found that corrections officers Robert Allan Decker, Joe Sanchez and Anthony Sylva were not negligent in placing Dillard in a Corcoran State Prison cell with a convicted murder and known sexual predator.  Dillard's attorneys contended that their client was placed in the cell with Wayne Robertson as punishment for kicking a female officer.

Lara Stemple, SPR's executive director, said the verdict demonstrates the tremendous obstacles that victims of prisoner rape face when seeking justice through the courts.

"The evidence in this case was powerful," Stemple said. "Dillard was placed in a cell with a man 100 pounds heavier than he was, a man known to have raped or assaulted at least 25 other inmates. Dillard was raped, and he was denied medical treatment after being attacked. If the jury felt the evidence wasn't compelling enough to find the officers negligent, it only underscores the problematic nature of the way our judicial system treats prisoner rape. What happened to Eddie Dillard was no accident."