W.A. DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS CONTRACTOR ADMITS SHE LIED ABOUT RAPE ALLEGATION TO COVER HER OWN SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

A woman in Washington contracted by the state Department of Corrections admitted on Monday that she falsely accused an inmate of rape in an effort to cover up her own attempts to pressure a man into having sex with her.

The Kitsap Sun reported that Taressa Jolene Browning, 32, worked for Progress House, a company contracted by the State of Washington to operate the Peninsula Work Release facility. Browning worked as a facility monitor, keeping tabs on inmates that had been released from prison and driving them to and from work.

While serving in that role, she met an inmate—who has not yet been named—and, according to the prosecutors, began pressuring the man into having sex with her. The man reportedly did not want to have sex with Browning and feared that she could send him back to prison if he didn’t submit. It was not the victim who reported Browning, but a different inmate, according to the Sun.

“He didn’t snitch, he isn’t a snitch,” Deputy Prosecutor Ben Turner told Judge Michelle Adams of the victim. “It was a different inmate who thwarted this.”

Detectives confronted Browning with the allegations. Though she initially said she did not have sex with the inmate, when detectives said that they had planned to search her vehicle, she accused the inmate of raping her.

Turner noted that the false accusation caused harm to the innocent inmate, who “suffered repercussions at the hands of fellow inmates,” according to the Sun.

“Turner told Judge Adams that one of his motivations to settle the case with a full admission of guilt rather than wait for a trial — which could take a year or more as a result of a backlog from the pandemic — was because of the danger the man would face while in custody because of Browning’s false rape allegation,” the outlet reported.

Turner said that the “whole time the victim would be in jeopardy because of the allegation that he committed a sexual assault.”

Browning, according to the Sun, pleaded “guilty to first-degree custodial sexual misconduct, second-degree extortion, malicious prosecution and attempted first-degree sexual misconduct.”

As a response to the plea agreement, Browning offered a tearful apology to her victim, saying that she knew she caused the man additional harm, according to the Daily Wire.

“He is the victim and I am sorry,” she said, according to the Sun. “He should have been able to trust me.”

The Daily Wire reported:

Browning was asked by a state Department of Corrections interviewer whether she had been trained on the 2003 federal law that prohibited employees and contractors from having sex with inmates. Browning said she was given paperwork about the law and “basically told not to have sex with inmates,” but that she “hadn’t been able to really read it all” because she had a 5th grade reading aptitude.

For her false accusation that caused harm to an innocent person, Browning was sentenced to 180 days in jail, including time already served. She faced a maximum penalty of 17 months.

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