Arizona Man Pleads Guilty to In-Custody Assault in Hatfield Federal Courthouse

PORTLAND, Ore.—Kelvin Valentino McDuffie, 34, of Supai, Arizona, pleaded guilty today for assaulting an in-custody defendant in the Hatfield Federal Courthouse in Portland.

“The safety of incarcerated persons in the custody of the Department of Justice is a top priority for federal law enforcement. The U.S. Marshals Service moved quickly to bring this case to our office so it could be swiftly prosecuted,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “Assaults on inmates committed with a sexual motive will continue to be prioritized by our office for prosecution.”

“In this case the victim was subjected to abusive sexual contact without permission. Although her dignity was assaulted, it was not surrendered and I thank the U.S. Attorney and the victim for their steadfast pursuit of justice,” said Russel Burger, U.S. Marshal for the District of Oregon.

According to court documents, on July 26, 2019, Deputy U.S. Marshals escorted McDuffie, an adult female victim, and other male and female inmates into a prisoner elevator inside the federal courthouse. The male and female inmates were separated by a metal chain-link screen and McDuffie was restrained with handcuffs and a belly chain.

As the elevator arrived at a floor, McDuffie reached his fingers through the chain-link screen and struck the victim’s inner thigh and buttocks through her clothing with the intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, and degrade the victim and arouse and gratify his own sexual desire.

McDuffie was in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service after being arrested in the District of Oregon for an alleged violation of the supervised release that had been imposed following a conviction for assaulting a federal officer in the District of Arizona.

On November 21, 2019, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a two-count indictment charging McDuffie with assault and abusive sexual contact. He pleaded guilty today to assault and will be sentenced on July 7, 2020 before U.S. District Court Judge Marco A. Hernandez. The U.S. Attorney’s Office expects to recommend a sentence of one year and one day in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office are committed to enforcing the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). PREA was passed, unanimously, by Congress and signed into law in 2003. PREA required the development and promulgation of “national standards for the detection, prevention, reduction, and punishment of prison rape.” These standards, like the law mandating them, are intended to address a serious public safety, public health, and human rights problem—the incidence of sexual violence in our nation’s confinement facilities. To learn more about PREA, please visit:  https://bja.ojp.gov/program/prison-rape-elimination-act-prea/overview.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.