ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A corrections officer accused of raping a male inmate had sex with him twice at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center and used her authority as a guard to coerce him into it, according to court records.
Wendy Vowinckel, 42, was arrested Monday and booked into the same jail she works at. It is illegal, and considered rape, for corrections officers to have sexual relations with inmates.
The victim, a 25-year-old man, told a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputy that Vowinckel was the “pod officer” for the area where he was housed.
On April 13, the victim and Vowinckel went into a dark, empty classroom and had sex while the rest of the pod was on lockdown, meaning inmates couldn’t leave their cells, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.
Video surveillance reviewed by authorities supports that claim – the victim and Vowinckel are seen going into the classroom twice for “extended periods of time” while the pod is locked down. It’s unclear from the complaint when the second incident happened.
Vowinckel brought the victim fast food, candy and colored pens, along with more personal items – a lipstick print on a paper towel and a piece of women’s underwear, according to the complaint.
The underwear was later confiscated by a different corrections officer during a “shakedown.”
The inmate told authorities he agreed to have sex with Vowinckel only because he was scared of her.
“The victim states he did not refuse to engage in the sexual acts because of the defendant’s position of authority over him” and because she threatened to harm him if she caught him with another woman, according to the complaint.
Court records show Vowinckel was released Tuesday after being charged with four counts of criminal sexual penetration and one count of intimidation of a witness.
She is on leave with pay pending the investigation, according to jail spokeswoman Nataura Powdrell-Moore.