SAN QUENTIN, Calif. – A U.S. jury awarded $65,000 to a convicted murderer in California's San Quentin State Prison after finding a female prison instructor turned him into a "sex slave."
William Cordoba, who is serving a life sentence for a 1981 second-degree murder and robbery, sued vocational instructor Silvia Pulido because he said she coerced him into trading sex acts after promising to get him a lawyer to help him get out of prison.
After a six-day trial last month in U.S. District Court in Oakland, jurors awarded Cordoba $15,414 in compensatory damages and $50,000 in punitive damages, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.
Cordoba, 57, said the abuse began in 2010 when he became a clerk for Pulido, who taught janitorial skills at San Quentin.
After months of being her "sex slave," Cordoba tried to break it off and Pulido retaliated, accusing him of disciplinary violations that landed him in solitary confinement for nine months, the lawsuit said.
Cordoba sued Pulido in 2012, saying the experience left him needing psychiatric care and alleging cruel and unusual punishment.
"All people have a right to be free from sexual abuse, that includes women and that includes men, and that doesn't change because the person is incarcerated," said attorney Julia Allen, who helped represent Cordoba.
Pulido no longer works at the prison, and she and her attorneys didn't return the newspaper's calls seeking comment. In court, Pulido's attorney said Cordoba was "delusional."
Vicky Waters, a spokeswoman for the state Corrections Department, said the department had no comment on the lawsuit but it "takes all sexual harassment complaints seriously and does not condone harassment, discrimination or any other conduct that threatens the safety and security of staff or inmates."
The Associated Press doesn't routinely name people who say they have been victims of sexual abuse. Lawyers for Cordoba said he had agreed to be named.