by Max Brantley
According to conversations with former PAL participants, Dewitt would give daily lectures on topics such as personal responsibility, curing impure thoughts and the importance of submitting to authority ― both within a family structure, meaning a wife should submit to her husband, and inside the prison where they were all stuck.Unlike the national attention give to campus sexual assaults, no outcry has emerged for Dewitt's victims. Two of the three victims remain in prison. Villareal was released in 2015 and deported to Mexico. The victims have been afforded no publicized victim impact statement about assault by an authority figure. The public may have less sympathy for incarcerated women, the story notes, though evidence mounts of growing sexual assault of women in prison.
Villarreal grew hopeful about life, even though she faced a 40-year sentence for the manufacture, delivery and possession of a controlled substance.
“I began to apply myself to study,” she said. “I knew I needed to change, I just didn’t know how.”
After Villarreal had been in the program a few years, Dewitt invited her to receive individual training, and requested she report to his office at 6 a.m. one Monday. She was excited to be singled out, she said, and eager for advanced instruction.
When she arrived, Villarreal told The Huffington Post, Dewitt said he knew exactly what she needed: to be touched. Intimately. For a few minutes each morning, the guards in the hallway outside Dewitt’s office left to perform an inmate count. The chaplain chose that moment to fondle her breasts and buttocks, she said.
That morning was just the beginning of her nightmare.
Villarreal said Dewitt would call her to his office every Monday and sexually victimize her, forcing her into oral sex and intercourse. And she wasn’t the only one: Two other women in the PAL program also told state police Dewitt had subjected them to weekly sexual abuses. One woman reported that the assaults went on undetected for three and a half years. For Villarreal, they continued for about a year and a half, she said.
Villarreal said she considers Dewitt’s sentence to be a slap on the wrist, but that she’s glad the ordeal is over.The Correction Department says it has taken a variety of steps to improve safety for inmates.
“I think he should do more time, but again, I don’t have a voice because I’m not over there,” she said. “Or maybe I don’t have a voice because I’m not legal. That’s how they treat people like me.”