After being charged with multiple counts of having sex with inmate in jail, a former prison worker is now facing trial.
The trial will take place on 12 August. Kayla Mae Bergom, 27, will be facing three charges of sexual misconduct.
Kayla and the inmate had relations between 2020-2021 at Tama County Jail, Iowa.
According to the complaint registered against Kayla, the inmate was a 29-year-old male. The incidents occurred in the prison’s recreation yard and utility closet.
Kayla resigned following the incident and pleaded not guilt in May.
Kayla could face serious consequences if she is found guilty. Federal law makes it illegal for staff-inmate to have sex with anyone.
According to a 2005 Department of Justice Office of Inspector General report, “Even though a sexual act might have been considered consensual outside of prison, it is still criminal sexual abuse inside prison.”
“For instance, staff sexual abuse could corrupt prison staff and lead to other dangers such as staff smuggling weapons or drugs into prison facilities for inmates.”
In a June 2009 report, the Prison Rape Elimination Commission stated that “prisoners should not be punished for having sexual contact with staff, even though it was consensual.” Staff and prisoners have different power and this hinders meaningful consent. The threat of punishment could discourage prisoners from reporting misconduct by staff.
Mark Treyger, a New York City Council member, reiterated the gravity of the alleged offenses. He stated: “The power dynamics in these circumstances are such that the person under custody is incapable consenting to any sexual activity. Common-sense law will make it clear that officers who abuse their authority or engage in coercive sexual behavior will be held responsible.”
The incident should not be taken lightly. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is handling the case.
Kayla will be on trial this month. If she is found guilty of any of the three charges, she could spend up to six years in prison.
Kayla worked in the jail for three-years before the incident. Tama County Sheriff Dennis Kucera stated that Bergom resigned as soon as the allegations were made.