Guard Accused of Raping Teen Inmate at Central Florida Jail

Marcus Leon James

A corrections officer at a detention center for juvenile inmates in Orange County was arrested Monday, accused of raping a girl at the facility the night before, an arrest report shows.

The report said 26-year-old Marcus Leon James forced himself on the 17-year-old girl inside an office at the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center on Bumby Avenue about 11 p.m. Sunday.

After the attack, the girl told investigators James told her not to tell anyone or she would “never see the daylight again,” the report said.

According to investigators, the girl said she and another inmate were cleaning several areas near the facility’s intake area at James’ direction, when he ordered her to go into the office by herself.

Once inside, she said, James violated her multiple times, during which he also pulled her by her hair and struck her, according to the report. The attack lasted less than five minutes, she said.

After the threat, James gave her a McDonald’s hamburger, the report said.

The Sheriff’s Office said James faces charges of sexual battery by a custodian on a person younger than 18 — which is punishable by up to life in prison — and sexual misconduct by a corrections officer.

Investigators interviewed James. According to court records, he initially claimed nothing had happened between him and the girl — adding that he did not “rape” her and didn’t want to go to jail.

According to the report, he told detectives he had seen the teen remove her shirt in a recreational area weeks prior, which “got him thinking.” He claimed he and the girl had later “developed a friendship.”

James later confessed to having sex with the girl, authorities said, though he described it as consensual.

James was booked about 11 p.m. Monday. He is being held without bail.

In a statement, the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice said James had been fired.

“This behavior is inexcusable and disgusting, and it is our expectation that this staff person be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” the agency’s statement said.

The statement added that the DJJ was “working to ensure the necessary care and support are provided for the victim in this case” and “stand[s] ready to assist the Sheriff’s Office in any way.”

James does not appear to have a criminal history in Florida.

However, court records show a woman identified as an ex-girlfriend and the mother of his son was granted an injunction for protection against domestic violence against him in the fall of 2013.

In a petition for the injunction, the woman said James had on Sept. 7, 2013, confronted her at a car wash threatening to shoot her and a passenger in her car, prompting her to call police.

She also said James had “kicked a huge dent” in a door at her home after showing up one night.