The case against
Jose Cosme, 36, marked the latest string of prosecutions
targeting Rikers employees in recent years, as authorities seek
to stem violence and corruption that has long plagued the city's
main jail complex.
"Correction officers or any other staff in Rikers Island cannot
use their position to abuse inmates," Bronx District Attorney
Darcel Clark said in a statement.
Prosecutors said Cosme in November 2015 engaged in sexual
intercourse with the female inmate by forcible compulsion. He
also engaged in other sexual acts with the inmate, who due to
her incarceration is unable to consent, prosecutors said.
Cosme, of Brooklyn, pleaded not guilty in Bronx Supreme Court to
charges including first-degree rape, prosecutors said. If
convicted of the top count, Cosme could face 50 years in prison,
Cosme's lawyer declined comment. The New York City Department of
Correction did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city officials are pursuing a
raft of reforms following allegations of widespread violence at
Rikers Island, which is one of the largest jail complexes in the
country and houses approximately 10,000 inmates.
The city is meanwhile defending itself against a proposed class
action lawsuit filed last year accusing the city of ignoring a
"pervasive culture" of sexual abuse at the women's jail at the
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Alistair
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