John Bellhouse, a former California prison guard, was convicted of sexual misconduct for calling a female inmate “his girlfriend.”

According to prosecutors, Bellhouse “began to express an interest in a particular female inmate and started calling the inmate his ‘girlfriend’” in 2020. The inmate in question allegedly performed oral sex on Bellhouse and they shared inappropriate relations between 2019 and 2020. One of the sex acts was performed in the prison’s safety office. 

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Bellhouse has also been accused of violating the Bureau of Prisons policy by letting a woman use the office phone. During at least one of the sexual encounters, another inmate was roped in to act as a lookout.

Who is John Bellhouse?

John Bellhouse is 40 years old and the sixth employee at FCI Dublin to be charged with sexually abusing inmates,

He was convicted this week of five counts of sexual abuse involving two women at FCI Dublin, outside of Oakland. Bellhouse will be sentenced in August.

Bellhouse had tears in his eyes when the verdict was being read out on Monday. During his trial, the defense tried to argue that the female inmates were lying. His lawyers also tried to throw out the testimony of convicted felons. They also argued that the female inmates were motivated to make money off civil cases against him.

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“My clients feel heard,” Jessica Heard, an attorney representing one of the victims, told KTVU. “Thank you to the jury for listening to their voices and delivering justice. Change is happening… Regardless of a prisoner’s crime, sexual assault is not part of their punishment.” 

A Bellhouse trial juror who spoke on condition of anonymity told KTVU “We just didn’t buy it.”