Charges will not be brought against two former Wapato corrections officers accused in an alleged sex scandal at the Wapato city jail because prosecutors say the evidence isn’t strong enough.
Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney James Hagarty on Wednesday said there isn’t a strong case against the two men because of unreliable witnesses and a lack of evidence.
Former corrections officers David Madril, 29, and Bruce Benscoter, 43, were investigated in January by the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office. Madril was alleged to have had sex with an inmate from Lakewood at the jail, while Benscoter was accused of taking away the privileges of two other inmates for participating in an internal investigation into his own sexual conduct.
Both men have since resigned. Neither Madril nor Benscoter could be reached for comment.
Benscoter still faces theft charges in an unrelated case, Hagarty said.
Hagarty said he found problems with the witnesses in the jail case, who were all inmates. Their stories changed during the investigation, conducted in January by a Yakima County sheriff’s detective.
The female inmate had told the investigating detective that she and Madril formed a relationship while she was being held at the jail in June 2012. She said she had sex with Madril later that summer in an officers’ bathroom at the rear of the jail — where there are no surveillance cameras — while she was jailed again on a probation violation. Wapato has a contract with that city to house its misdemeanor offenders.
Madril told the investigator that his sexual contact took place after the inmate was released from the jail.
The investigation noted that the inmate had sought benefits from the detective — such as cigarettes — for cooperating with him. Hagarty said another inmate changed her story after first saying she wasn’t aware of any contact between Madril and the inmate.
The conflicting stories raised credibility questions, Hagarty said. “They were all in and out of jail,” he said. “They don’t have the greatest accountability.”
Benscoter also allegedly removed privileges of two inmates after they cooperated with an investigation into allegations that he had behaved sexually toward a former inmate while on duty.
Hagarty said whether Benscoter had the authority to take away an inmate’s privileges is an administrative matter to be handled by his employer.
There were no recordings of the alleged acts and the only witnesses were Madril, Benscoter and the inmates, Hagarty said.
“That’s a he-said, she-said thing, and they don’t bode well in court,” Hagarty said. “With the resources we have, is this really the case we want to pursue? Both men have resigned — what would the benefit be?”
In the other, unrelated case, Benscoter is accused of embezzling money from the local Wapato Youth Athletic League while serving as the nonprofit’s director. He has been charged with second-degree theft and misappropriation and falsification of accounts by a public officer.
“That’s the real case,” Hagarty said.