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10 months for worker who had sex with inmate


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POSTED: Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A former federal detention center employee will serve 10 months in a mainland prison and be required to register as a sex offender for having sex with a female inmate at the Honolulu facility.

At a sentencing hearing yesterday, U.S. District Judge Michael Seabright told Markell Milsap, 36, “;I will take your word that it was consensual.”; But the judge also told the Mililani man, “;It was horribly wrong. It was a gross abuse of your position. You used your authority to take advantage of an inmate.”;

Milsap, an electrician at the federal prison for 4 1/2 years, pleaded guilty in October in a plea bargain with the U.S. Justice Department. He was charged under a federal law prohibiting guards and other prison workers from engaging in sex with a person in official detention.

His attorney, Birney Bervar, argued that Milsap should get the minimum sentence under federal sentencing guidelines because the alleged victim refused to testify and “;has significant credibility problems.”; He said she instigated the encounter, which occurred in a small storage room.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Moriyama called for a higher sentence “;to adequately reflect the seriousness of the breach of trust.”;

Milsap told the court, “;I apologize to God, to my family and my church for the shame I brought them. I have forgiven and prayed for my accuser.”;

He will serve three years of supervised release after the prison term, which will begin April 21 in a mainland federal facility, and was also ordered to pay a $3,000 fine.

The woman has filed a $750,000 lawsuit against the Bureau of Prisons for failing to provide a safe environment at the detention center.

The woman was released from prison at the order of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that she was improperly incarcerated at the time of the September 2007 sexual abuse. She had served a prison term for bank robbery and was on supervisory release when she tested positive for cocaine in a urine test.

U.S. Judge Helen Gillmor sent her back to prison, but her decision was reversed by the appeals court early last year.