Washington State Department Of Corrections Contractor Admits She Falsely Accused Inmate Of Rape To Cover Up Her Own Sexual Misconduct

Amnon Free Press

A Washington woman contracted by the state Department of Corrections admitted Monday that she falsely accused an inmate of rape to cover up her attempts to pressure the man into having sex with her.

The Kitsap Sun reported that 32-year-old Taressa Jolene Browning worked for Progress House, a company contracted by the state to operate the Peninsula Work Release facility. Browning worked as a facility monitor, monitoring inmates that had been released from prison and driving them to and from work.

In that role, she met an inmate – who has not been named – and, according to prosecutors, began pressuring the man into having sex with her. The man reportedly did not want to have sex with Browning and feared she could send him back to prison if he didn’t submit. It was not the victim who reported Browning, but a different inmate, the Sun reported.

“He didn’t snitch, he isn’t a snitch,” Deputy Prosecutor Ben Turner told Judge Michelle Adams of the victim. “It was a different inmate who thwarted this.”

Detectives confronted Browning with the allegations. Initially, she said she did not have sex with the inmate, but when detectives said they would search her vehicle, she accused the inmate of raping her.

Turner said the false accusation caused harm to the innocent inmate, who “suffered repercussions at the hands of fellow inmates,” the Sun reported.

“Turner told Judge Adams that one of his motivations to settle the case with a full admission of guilt rather than wait for a trial — which could take a year or more as a result of a backlog from the pandemic — was because of the danger the man would face while in custody because of Browning’s false rape allegation,” the outlet reported.

Turner went on to say that the “whole time the victim would be in jeopardy because of the allegation that he committed a sexual assault.”

Browning last month pleaded “guilty to first-degree custodial sexual misconduct, second-degree extortion, malicious prosecution and attempted first-degree sexual misconduct,” the Sun reported.

In response to the plea agreement, Browning offered a tearful apology to her victim, saying she knew she caused the man additional harm.

“He is the victim and I am sorry,” she said, according to the Sun. “He should have been able to trust me.”

Browning was asked by a state Department of Corrections interviewer whether she had been trained on the 2003 federal law that prohibited employees and contractors from having sex with inmates. Browning said she was given paperwork about the law and “basically told not to have sex with inmates,” but that she “hadn’t been able to really read it all” because she had a 5th grade reading aptitude.

For her false accusation that caused harm to an innocent person, Browning was sentenced to 180 days in jail, including time already served. She faced a maximum penalty of 17 months.

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