A longtime correction officer was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly sexually abusing several female inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a notorious federal jail located just two blocks from City Hall.
According to the criminal complaint, Colin Akparanta, 42, sexually abused at least four inmates between 2012 and 2018. In some cases, he allegedly smuggled hygiene products, makeup and food to his victims, with the explicit condition that they continue to have sex with him.
Prosecutors also claim that Akparanta, a New Jersey native, told at least one victim "not to tell anyone because no one would believe her." The abuse allegedly occurred at numerous locations throughout the facility, including while inmates were locked in solitary confinement.
“As alleged, Colin Akparanta was a predator in uniform, exploiting his position to sexually abuse multiple inmates over a several-year period," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. "No inmate in a Bureau of Prisons facility should fear sexual abuse at the hands of a correctional officer, and thankfully, Akparanta will have no more victims."
Akparanta, who worked at the facility since 2004, faces a slew of charges, including four counts of sexual abuse of a ward. That charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center have long reported decrepit, vermin-infested conditions at the federal jail, as well as routine abuse faced at the hands of guards.
Since 2004, at least three correction officers have been found guilty of sexually assaulting inmates at MCC. One was sentenced to seven years behind bars in 2016 for raping a woman detained at the facility, who later told the court, "Even in my dreams, I am suffering flashbacks where I’m repeatedly raped." Last April, a guard was arrested for taking bribes to smuggle food, alcohol and cellphones into the facility.
The jail primarily holds people who have not yet been convicted of crimes. It's one of two federal pretrial facilities in New York City. The other is the Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park, where inmates went without heat and electricity for a week as temperatures plunged below freezing this past winter.
In 2017, three correction officers at that facility were charged with raping and sexually abusing several female inmates.