Houston woman says she was sexually assaulted by prison guard

Sylvia Hidalgo can be seen sitting in her car while a hand tickles her on the arm.

A lot of what happens after that is too graphic to show on TV.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials say the roving hand belongs to former TDCJ corrections officer Joe Cunningham.

He worked at the Glen Ray Goodman prison unit in Jasper.

“I had been going there faithfully almost every weekend,” Hidalgo said.

On one of her visits to the prison last fall to visit her fiancé, Hidalgo says Cunningham touched her inappropriately while searching her vehicle.

“I was shocked that someone of authority would have done that,” she said.

When she realized Cunningham was going to search her vehicle again during another visit, she put her cellphone down by the brake and hit record.

You see a guard’s hand going down her shirt.

“I remember him putting his finger over his mouth saying for me not to say anything,” Hidalgo said.,

“He’s telling her to be quiet while he’s sexually assaulting her, that things can get bad for her fiancé,” said community activist Quanell X. “She was very terrified that something would happen if she came forward and told the truth."

When Cunningham was confronted, TDCJ officials say he told them Hidalgo was the instigator.

“That’s the typical language that a sexual assault abuser uses trying to redirect and blame the victim,” said Quanell X.

TDCJ sent us this statement:

“When allegations of wrongdoing were presented to TDCJ a disciplinary investigation began.

When presented with the allegation Joe Cunningham resigned his position as a correctional officer.

All information that had been gathered at that point was passed to the independent Office of Inspector General for criminal investigation."

“They gave him a sweetheart of a deal, we will let you keep your pension, and still to this day he has not been indicted after they already admitted to me that yes this is a sexual assault,” Quanell X said.  

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