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Trial opens for former correction officer

Trial opens for former correction officer
By Milton J. Valencia
Globe Staff / March 23, 2011

Moises Ballista, a former correction officer at the South Middlesex Correctional Center in Framingham, routinely had sexual relations with female inmates at the minimum-security, prerelease center for women. He acknowledged the actions in federal court yesterday.

Five years ago, he was sentenced to nine months in a county jail for violating state laws prohibiting relations between inmates and correctional officers, even when the sex is consensual.

But now a federal jury — made up of 10 women — will decide whether Ballista and his supervisors at the state Department of Correction violated the civil rights of one of the inmates, a case that could end in a damage award. The ruling could also put the same responsibility on state supervisors as on Ballista.

The woman, Christina Chao, 31, alleges that Ballista, capitalizing on his role as an officer, used his power to pressure her into between 50 and 100 sexual acts when she was an inmate eight years ago. She also asserts state officials failed to intervene, despite a history of similar accusations against Ballista.


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