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Louisiana guard fired after arrest on suspicion of raping inmate

By Jonathan Kaminsky

(Reuters) - A male corrections officer in northwestern Louisiana was fired this week after his arrest on suspicion of forcibly raping a female inmate, authorities said Thursday.

The arrest of Natchitoches Parish Detention Center guard Lindsey Webster Hoke, 28, comes in the wake of a high-profile Louisiana case settled in March stemming from the 2008 and 2009 sexual abuse of a then-14-year-old female inmate by a guard.

"I will not tolerate this type of behavior when a deputy decides to abuse his authority and responsibility to serve the people of Natchitoches Parish," Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones said in a statement.

Authorities received a complaint of the alleged rape on July 4 and arrested Hoke on Tuesday after finding probable cause that the incident occurred, the Sheriff's Office said.

Hoke, hired as a guard in 2008, had recently been promoted to supervise other prison staff, the Sheriff's Office said.

He has been charged with one count of forcible rape, one count of sexual conduct prohibited with someone in custody and three counts of malfeasance in office.

Information about the alleged victim was not provided.

A 2013 U.S. Justice Department study found that 2.4 percent of inmates nationwide - or more than 34,000 inmates - reported being sexually assaulted by corrections staff in a yearlong period ending in 2012.

Felix Sternfels, an attorney who represented the 14-year-old inmate in a civil case against Terrebonne Parish over her sexual abuse in 2008 and 2009 by a guard, said those numbers are likely low.

"A lot of it goes unreported and unknown," he said.

Terms of the settlement in the Terrebonne Parish civil suit were not disclosed but guard Angelo Vickers was sentenced to seven years in prison in the criminal case after pleading guilty to one count of molestation.

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Bill Trott)

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