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Sex offender accused of jailhouse rape

A Spokane County Jail inmate facing charges of failing to register as a sex offender has been accused of raping one of his cellmates.

Marcus E. Hardin, 33, faces a second-degree rape charge in connection with the alleged assault of an 18-year-old inmate.

Hardin and the victim were being housed in a minimum-security dormitory cell with nine other inmates last week when the attacks allegedly occurred.

One of the men’s other cellmates reported the abuse to a guard, according to court documents. The alleged victim then told investigators that he and Hardin had sex June 7 and June 8 in the dorm, prior to the June 9 rape.

Court documents describe those first two encounters as consensual. But, in a jailhouse interview, the younger man said he had sex with Hardin initially because Hardin harassed him.

“I wouldn’t say it was consensual,” the victim said of those initial encounters. “He was just a threatening person to me.”

The victim, who was jailed June 3 and moved into the dorm cell June 6, said he told Hardin on more than one occasion that he was not interested in having sex, but Hardin pressured him.

“He had said that when he had first seen me that he started having feelings for me and stuff and I said, ‘Well, I don’t have feelings for you.’ “

On June 9, Hardin told the victim that he would have him killed unless he continued having sex, according to court documents.

The victim said he relented after the threat.

“The night he threatened me I couldn’t sleep because he kept walking back and forth,” the 18-year-old said. “… I feel gross.”

Hardin declined a jailhouse interview Tuesday.

Jail Lt. Gary Delzer said Hardin was not being housed in the jail’s sex offender unit because he hasn’t committed a sex offense in more than 10 years. Hardin is classified by the state as a Level I sex offender, the level considered the least likely to commit more sex crimes.

The jail, and others in the state, use a point system that considers past criminal history, age and other factors in classifying inmates. Under that system, Hardin was given six points. Inmates with one to six points can be placed in minimum security, Delzer said. Inmates with seven to 11 points go to medium, and inmates with 12 or more points are placed in maximum security.

Sheriff Mark Sterk said this is the first case of rape he knows of at the jail since he became sheriff. He said the jail is reconsidering putting cameras inside the dorm cells to prevent more occurrences.

“We’re very concerned we could have a repeat of this,” Sterk said.

The victim said the jail staff took the allegations seriously and that he has been treated well by guards.

However, he was transferred into a cell by himself after the alleged rape, a move the victim said makes him feel like he’s being punished even though he is the one who was attacked.


 

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