The Guardian


April 11, 2024

Nilda Palacios had nowhere to turn.

It was June 2016 inside the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF), the state’s largest women’s prison, and her cellmate had become abusive and violent, she recalled in an interview. Officers had refused her request for a room transfer. Her final hope: begging for help from Tony Ormonde, the sergeant who ran the yard.

“I can do the bed move, but you gotta do something for me,” she remembers him responding.

In the weeks after the transfer, the sergeant began summoning her to his office and other private locations, where he sexually harassed and assaulted her, Palacios said. The abuse continued for months: “I’d cry and ask why I put myself in this situation. I’d leave with disgust and feel used, and I’d hate that I didn’t have the choice to say no.”

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