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Prison Guard Sentenced for Sexually Assaulting Trans Inmate

Prison Guard Gets Stiff Sentence for Sex Assault on Trans Inmate

The transgender woman was in protective custody at the time of the attack.

A former prison guard in North Carolina faces up to 14 years in jail after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a transgender woman inmate in his custody last year.

In a plea bargain agreement, Kyle Garrett Harris pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of felony sex by a custodian for his actions in the June 21, 2021, attack at the Mecklenburg County jail, according to a report in the News&Observer. He was given sentences of 20 to 84 months for each charge, with the sentences to be served consecutively.

The sexual assault survivor went public last year with her story.

"There was no way possible I could just sit there and allow somebody to get away with something like that," the woman, who identified herself as Heaven, told the local ABC affiliate WSOC-TV.

Following her arrest on federal identity charges last year, Heaven was taken to Mecklenburg County jail where Harris was employed as a guard. She was allowed to shower separately but was attacked when another inmate reached under the shower wall, grabbed her ankle, and attempted to pull her into the next stall. Heaven reported the incident and was immediately transferred to a private cell in protective custody. Harris was the deputy on duty that first evening in her new cell.

"At the start of his shift, he [Harris] tried to make small talk and kept finding reasons to stop by the cell that I was being held in," Heaven told WSOC-TV, saying it was the first time she had met Harris.

"I knew when he kept coming back, trying to be extra generous, there was another motive," Heaven continued. "Something just wasn't right."

Later that shift, Harris assaulted Heaven. She reported the attack the following morning following a change in guards. Harris was immediately placed on leave, and later fired and charged following an investigation. DNA evidence connected Harris to the assault on Heaven.

Heaven was transferred to another facility on May 25 of last year and was subsequently placed on home arrest two days later. In a deal with prosecutors, she pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and was sentenced to time served and placed on three years of supervised release.

In addition to his prison sentence, Harris must register as a sex offender for 30 years.

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