A man who is a former guard at the state women’s prison and former substitute Durham school teacher was arrested Wednesday on charges that he engaged in sex acts with four inmates last summer.
Bishme Father Desha Allah, 32, of 4604 Cottondale Drive in Durham, surrendered to authorities at a Durham police station and was brought to Wake County for booking. He was jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail and remained in custody after a first court appearance Thursday.
A Wake County grand jury had indicted Allah this month on six counts of sexual offense with a prisoner, a felony in which it does not matter if the women agreed or not.
According to the indictments, Allah engaged in a sex act with one woman in June and July, had intercourse with a second prisoner in July and the first half of August, was in a sex act with a third woman on July 30 and had intercourse with a fourth woman twice in the first half of August.
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Allah was arrested by State Capitol Police, who have jurisdiction over crimes at the state’s Raleigh prisons, including the Correctional Institution for Women on Bragg Street. Capitol police and agents from the State Bureau of Investigation began an investigation into allegations against Allah last August.
Corrections officials dismissed Allah on Nov. 24, a spokesman said. He was a probationary officer in his first year of employment.
Durham school officials learned about the investigation in December and immediately removed Allah from the district’s substitute list, Chief Communications Officer Chrissy Deal said. He had started as a substitute in mid-August while still working at the prison, according to an online resume purporting to be Allah’s.
Deal said school officials got a tip about the ongoing investigation shortly before public disclosure of a search warrant that agents had obtained on Oct. 15 to take a DNA sample and other physical evidence from Allah. That warrant was returned Dec. 18.
When SBI Special Agent J.N. Ryan and Capitol Police Investigator Michael Aponte asked a Superior Court judge for the warrant, they said Aponte had contacted a county detention center in Virginia where Allah once worked. There, he had “resigned due to a substantiated allegation of Correction Officer Allah having a sexual relationship with a female inmate,” they wrote.
It appears no charges were filed in that case, however. Deal said Durham school officials ran a standard criminal background check before signing up Allah as a substitute, and it found nothing.
The online resume says that Allah was a “sheriff’s deputy first class” working with prisoners in Henrico County, Va., from April 2006 to August 2012.
The resume lists him working in several retail positions after the jail. There is nothing listed between April 2014 and January 2015, when it says he became a corrections officer at the women’s prison.
The allegations against Allah began last August, when a staff member at the prison contacted State Capitol Police about claims by “female inmates that indicated that these individuals had consensual sex with a correctional officer employed at NCCIW,” the search warrant application explained.
One inmate gave police clothes she said carried fluids from Allah, which led to the request for his DNA.
The day they asked for the warrant, Ryan and Aponte told the judge they had interviewed Allah and he denied the allegations and refused to volunteer a DNA sample.
One is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder. One is serving a sentence for second-degree murder and is due to be released in 2029. One was sentenced for first-degree burglary and is due to be released this spring.
The fourth faces charges in a central North Carolina county but was moved to the Correctional Institution for Women for “safekeeping” at the request of that county’s sheriff. Sheriffs can request that prisoners be held by the state if the sheriff feels that the county facility cannot provide adequate care or protection for the person.