A civilian guard employed by the Chula Vista Police Department who is responsible for the supervision of female prisoners at the city’s jail was arrested and booked Thursday for having “sexual activity” with one of the inmates.
Joseph Struzzieri, 28, was booked for “consensual sexual activity with an inmate,” police said.
Police said he is no longer employed with the department. Struzzieri had been with the department for seven years.
The criminal investigation began after another guard noticed Struzzieri demonstrated interest in a 23-year-old female inmate.
The woman is a transfer prisoner from the U.S. Marshals Service and was arrested on a narcotics-related charge, according to Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano.
The female prisoner told police of at least two acts of sexual activity with Struzzieri between September and November.
“It was brought to our attention last Friday afternoon by another employee,” Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano said. “It was very shocking to say the least.”
The department’s jail manager, along with detectives, conducted a weeklong criminal investigation, speaking with the prisoner, employee and Struzzieri’s colleague.
“This is the first ever serious complaint or allegation of this kind,” Bejarano said. “They (the guards) have to go through a pretty thorough background investigation.”
Bejarano said that Struzzieri had been on vacation and they were waiting for him to return before arresting him.
He also said Struzzieri had no criminal record.
The Chula Vista jail has a total of 12 civilian guards, six female and six male. Bejarano said he tries to have three guards on every 11.5 hour shift with at least one female present.
Struzzieri’s case will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s office for review.