A former nurse at a private prison has been charged in Payne County District Court with sexual battery against an inmate. Linda Juanita Boganski, 49, was working as a nurse for an agency that subcontracted with the Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, Oklahoma, a private prison run by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). She was removed from the facility after she was accused of touching an inmate in a sexual manner and of bringing the inmate contraband, including tobacco and a cell phone. Boganski was charged March 25 with one count of sexual battery in violation of 21 O.S. 1123(B) and with one count of bringing contraband into a penal institution in violation of 57 O.S. 21 (D) (E), for offenses that allegedly occurred in December. According to a Letter to Appear issued to Boganski by the Payne County Court, the defendant has one month--until April 24--to appear voluntarily, or a warrant will be issued for her arrest. According to the statutes which the former nurse is accused of violating, it is a misdemeanor to bring tobacco products--including cigarettes, cigars, snuff, and chewing tobacco--into a jail, state prison, or "other place where prisoners are located." Bringing tobacco into a penal institution is punishable by a $500 fine and a maximum term of one year in county jail. Bringing a cell phone into a penal institution is a bit more serious: " Any person who knowingly, willfully and without authority brings into or has in his or her possession in any secure area of a jail or state penal institution or other secure place where prisoners are located any cellular phone or electronic device capable of sending or receiving any electronic communication shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony . . . " (57 O.S. 21[E]). Bringing a cell phone into a jail or prison is punishable by a maximum of 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Still, the penalties the defendant faces for bringing contraband into a penal institution pale in comparison to those associated with conviction of sexual battery, a felony sex crime. Sexual battery is defined as touching the body or private parts of anyone aged 16 or older in a lewd or sexual manner without the consent of the person or "when committed by a state, county, municipal or political subdivision employee or a contractor or an employee of a contractor of the state, a county, a municipality or political subdivision of this state upon a person who is under the legal custody, supervision or authority of a state agency, a county, a municipality or a political subdivision of this state." In other words, a jail or prison inmate cannot legally consent to sexual activity with any employee, contractor, or employee of a contractor of the agency that holds the inmate in custody. Typically, such relationships are seen between prison guards and inmates, but any corrections employee or subcontractor will be charged as a criminal for engaging in sexual activity with an inmate. Sexual battery is a felony punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison. It is a Level 3 sex offense which mandates lifetime Oklahoma Sex Offender registration.
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