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Prison cook faces charges

By Nicholas Grube

Triplicate staff writer

A Pelican Bay State Prison employee was charged by the Del Norte County District Attorney's Office for having sex with multiple inmates.

Bonnie Sue Freeman, 51, was a supervising cook at the prison and will be arraigned March 23 in the Del Norte County Superior Court for three felony counts of having oral copulation and sexual intercourse with a confined person.

Each count stems from three separate relationships Freeman had with three different prisoners from April 2006 to February of this year.

According to the charges filed, each inmate was consenting.

She was arrested and booked into the Del Norte County Jail Feb. 26 and was released on bail.

District Attorney Mike Riese said that Freeman could face a maximum penalty of four years and four months if convicted on all three counts – a three year sentence for the first incident and an additional eight months for the subsequent charges.

"These cases are very, very rare on any level," Riese said. "I've had two cases in 17 years."

This case is unique in that there have been cases where correctional officers have had sex with inmates, he said, but this is the first time he's had a civilian employee allegedly having sex with inmates.

In February, a former prison psychologist at Folsom State Prison in Sacramento was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years probation for admitting to having sex with an inmate.

Pelican Bay State Prison opened in 1989. It houses more than more than 3,300 prisoners.

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