RACINE — Two Kenosha County women remain free on signature bonds after Racine County prosecutors charged them for allegedly performing sex acts on the same inmate last year at the Sturtevant prison where they had worked.
Lisa M. Hawkins, 33. of Salem, and Karina Herrera, 40, of Kenosha, appeared in a Racine County courtroom on Tuesday for their initial appearances on felony and misdemeanor charges for allegedly smuggling a cellphone in to the inmate and performing sex acts on him in a bathroom at Racine Correctional Institution, according to their criminal complaints, which were released on Tuesday.
Prosecutors charged Hawkins and Herrera on Sept. 30 with one count each of second-degree sexual assault by correctional staff, a felony. Hawkins also is charged with obstructing an officer, a misdemeanor, and Herrera faces an additional count of delivering illegal items to an inmate — another felony charge.
A Racine County sheriff’s investigator was assigned last year on Oct. 5 and Oct. 10 to probe allegations of sexual contact between workers at the prison and a
prisoner,who was working as a custodian inmate, the complaints stated. The inmate’s cell had been searched and cellphone memory cards, a phone charger, a lock of hair and four naked photos of Herrera allegedly were found. The inmate told the investigator that Herrera brought her nude photos to him — saying they were from her modeling file, according to her complaint.
A July 25, 2012, cellphone video allegedly shows Herrera performing a sex act on the inmate in the bathroom of the prison’s Health Services Unit, where Herrera had worked at the time, according to the complaint. Herrera is accused of smuggling that cellphone in to the inmate sometime between March 1, 2012, and the day that video was recorded.
A video shot less than two months later, on Sept. 14, 2012, allegedly shows Hawkins — who worked as a nurse for Guardian Healthcare at the time — performing a sex act on the same inmate in the bathroom in the Health Services Unit at the prison, her complaint stated. Guardian Healthcare was contracted to provide medical services to inmates at this prison, located at 2019 Wisconsin Ave., Sturtevant.
During Hawkins’ initial appearance in court Tuesday, defense attorney Christopher Rose requested the sexual assault charge be dropped because she wasn’t a correctional institution employee.
“She did not meet the statutory definition of staff member. We would move to dismiss,” Rose said.
“The statute also encompasses those contracted with correctional facilities, (including in) health care,” Assistant District Attorney Robert Repischak said.
Court Commissioner Alice Rudebusch denied Rose’s motion. She set a $2,000 signature bond for both Hawkins and Herrera, and ordered both women to have no contact with the man.
That inmate now is housed in the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility in Boscobel, state Department of Corrections records show. It is the state’s highest-security prison.
Herrera’s preliminary hearing is Nov. 7 and Hawkins’ is Nov. 14.
The sexual assault charge, the stiffest, is punishable by a maximum of 25 years in prison, up to 15 years on extended supervision and a fine capped at $100,000.