Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Tyrell Harris-McLaughlin: Guard charged with rape of inmates in New Jersey Women’s Prison

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Tyrell Harris-McLaughlin at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women was arrested on October 13 on charges of sexual abuse and official misconduct

NEW JERSEY: A senior correctional officer, Tyrell Harris-McLaughlin, 28, in a New Jersey women’s prison was charged with sexually abusing an inmate, authorities reported. The officer at the troubled Edna Mahan Women’s Correctional Facility was arrested on Wednesday, October 13, for sexual assault and official misconduct, current Attorney General Andrew Bruck noted. The alleged attack took place on September 16.

Days after the alleged attack, the female inmate told prison staff that McLaughlin raped her, according to an affidavit with likely reason. The affidavit states that sperm was taken from the woman in a hospital and that it matched Harris-McLaughlin’s DNA. Harris-McLaughlin at the time had “supervisory or disciplinary powers” over the female inmate at the rural Hunterdon County detention center, which holds approximately 370 prisoners.


“Everyone in custody has the right to be free from sexual or other assault,” said Thomas Eichler, director of the Office for Public Integrity and Accountability. “If law enforcement officers attack and exploit individuals under their authority, as is claimed here, we will ensure that they are fully investigated and prosecuted.” Governor Phil Murphy announced in June that New Jersey would close the women’s prison after a series of sexual abuse charges and violent police raids. He blasted the latest allegations on Wednesday as “disgusting”. “This is tragically not the first [incident]. It was built for two or three decades and it stepped out of the can. We’re not going to kick it in the can anymore. We’re closing this thing, ā€¯Murphy said.

The prison in question had been scrutinized after years of sexual abuse of inmates in a federal report when a series of “cell extractions” resulted in charges against 10 guards and employees in January. American Civil Liberties Union Legal Director Jeanne LoCicero said Wednesday’s arrest was “doubly shocking” as the alleged rape occurred while the prison was under the control of the Justice Department. “This speaks to how deeply our state prison system has been broken and how isolated employees have been from the public and accountability,” he said.

Jersey City-born Tyrell Harris-McLaughlin joined the Justice Department in 2019. He reportedly had no lawyer listed on Wednesday, October 13th afternoon. Harris-McLaughlin faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, the authorities said.

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