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Sex-Abuse Arrests of 2 Youth Authority Staffers Prompt Tightening of Security

April 15, 1986|THOMAS OMESTAD | Times Staff Writer

A security guard and a cook at the California Youth Authority's Ventura School in Camarillo have been arrested and accused of having unlawful sex with two girls assigned to the school.

Ventura County Sheriff's detectives made the arrests last week after investigating the complaint of a 17-year-old girl that she was raped by the cook.

The cases led CYA officials to step up security patrols, with guards now making more unscheduled checks of inmates' rooms and work areas in hopes of preventing sexual abuse by employees, Supt. Clyde McDowell said.

The medium-security Camarillo facility, which offers academic courses and vocational training to youthful offenders, is the only CYA facility to house female inmates.

"This is terrible stuff," McDowell said. "There was a total abuse of authority."

2 Oxnard Residents

Arrested were two Oxnard residents who have worked at the Camarillo institution for three years, Terrell Jefferson, 27, the cook, and Douglas Evans, 29, the security guard.

Jefferson was arrested on suspicion of rape by use of fear, oral copulation and unlawful intercourse with a minor, all involving the 17-year-old girl who alerted authorities. He is also accused of carrying marijuana onto institution grounds.

The girl told authorities that Jefferson raped her after ordering her to stay in the kitchen after other inmates who were working there left for the day, McDowell said.

Jefferson, who was released on his own recognizance, was fired after an internal CYA probe, McDowell said.

Evans was arrested on suspicion of unlawful intercourse and oral copulation with two 17-year-old girls, one of them the inmate who accused Jefferson of rape. Evans, who is free on bail, has been placed on a leave of absence while CYA officials investigate, McDowell said.

The superintendent said Evans normally patrolled outside areas of the 47-acre complex and also worked overtime patrolling inmate housing during the night.

Jefferson and Evans could not be reached for comment Monday.

Despite one girl's involvement with both men, the two incidents appear to be unrelated, Ventura County Sheriff's Sgt. Tom Odle said.

Formal charges are expected to be filed against the two Wednesday at an arraignment in Ventura County Municipal Court, a spokesman for the Ventura County district attorney said.

The institution now houses 251 female inmates and 449 males in separate, 50-room buildings. The inmates, whose average age is 18, range from murderers and rapists to nonviolent, repeat misdemeanor offenders.

Both men and women guards monitor all areas of the facility--a policy that will not be changed because of the alleged incidents, according to CYA officials at Camarillo.

McDowell said, however, that the new inspection policy will protect the youthful offenders from sexual advances by staff members. "We've established more irregular checks so people won't pick up on a pattern," he said.

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