Prisoner transport officer pleads guilty in sex assault case

New Mexico

An officer for a private prisoner transport company who was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his custody has pleaded guilty to violating her civil rights.

Federal authorities say James Baldinger, of Minnesota, entered the plea Monday in Albuquerque. They say the 51-year-old had been working for Prisoner Transportation Services of America in July 2017 when he inappropriately touched an inmate while she was shackled.

U.S. Attorney John Anderson says the plea shows his office will hold people who violate inmates’ rights accountable.

Baldinger is in federal custody.

Court records show prosecutors and Baldinger agreed to a two-year prison term under an agreement that must be accepted by a judge.

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