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Jail guard pastor sexually abused Rikers inmates as supervisors stood idly by, lawsuit alleges

Jail guard pastor sexually abused Rikers inmates as supervisors stood idly by, lawsuit alleges Jail guard pastor sexually abused Rikers inmates as supervisors stood idly by, lawsuit alleges

A correction officer who moonlights as a church pastor is being sued by an inmate and investigated by the city on charges that he sexually abused detainees at Rikers Island.

Raimeir Clay, who is married with two children, is “a serial sexual abuser,” according to the male inmate, who said Clay used his power in the jail to molest him and other male inmates while the officer’s colleagues and supervisors did nothing to stop the abuse.

Clay, 43, wore two uniforms. For his shifts at the jail, he put on a blue uniform complete with a badge over his chest and department lapel on his shoulder.

But when he wasn’t supervising violent offenders and suspects awaiting trial at Rikers’ Anna M. Kross Center, Clay wore the ecclesiastic frock of a trusted minister complete with clerical collar.

In the latter world, he is known as Pastor Clay, preaching the Gospel to a Newark congregation.

Raimeir Clay, 43, a correction officer at Rikers, is being sued by an inmate who says Clay sexually abused him.

Clay also is a pastor at St. Mark Baptist Church in Newark N.J.

Clay’s wife, Crystal, a partner in his ministry, is a preacher herself, whose Facebook feeds include videos of her delivering sermons from the church’s pulpit.

In Clay’s day job, he is Officer Clay, and it is in that capacity that he is accused of breaking at least some of the Ten Commandments, including the ones forbidding coveting and bearing false witness.

According to the lawsuit filed by the inmate — who is still at Rikers and describes himself as a gay man — Clay on several occasions entered his cell and ordered him to masturbate while Clay watched.

Sometimes Clay joined in, donning a white latex glove to grope the alleged victim’s penis and instructing the inmate to rub him through his uniform, the suit says.

In return, Clay promised to protect the inmate from harm and snuck him treats and goodies from the officers’ lunchroom.

In one alleged encounter, Clay trapped the inmate in a small “slop sink” mop closet and rubbed his genitals.

The accuser suggested Clay’s behavior was common knowledge among other inmates — and supervisors who did nothing to stop it. The accuser also said Clay abused at least four other inmates.

“Eventually, (the inmate) began to feel disgusted and upset by Officer Clay’s sexual abuse,” the lawsuit says.

Clay is also the subject of a city probe into the claims.

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“He felt used. He felt hopeless. And he felt scared.”

The inmate tried avoiding Clay, but that only made things worse.

“Officer Clay became angry at (the inmate) for avoiding him,” the lawsuit says.

“Officer Clay started cursing at (him), calling (him) a ‘b---h’ and telling (him) that he was ‘acting like a b---h all the time.’ ”

When the inmate told authorities of the alleged abuse, he was beaten by other officers and forced into a fight with other inmates, according to court papers.

The court papers also state Clay is being scrutinized by law enforcement.

Clay, reached outside the Newark church, declined to comment.

Others named in the lawsuit are the City of New York, Capt. Desmond Blake and another correction officer identified only as Johnson. The officers were accused of beating the inmate in retaliation for reporting the alleged abuse by Clay.

Clay, a Mississippi native, was a deputy correction officer in Memphis before moving to New York, according to a biography on his church website that describes his love of hymns.

Peter Thorne, a spokesman for Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte, said, “Commissioner Ponte has zero tolerance for sexual assaults of inmates, and we take this allegation seriously. This matter is under investigation.”

A source said Clay, who was hired in 2013, has been reassigned to a position where he has no contact with inmates.

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Jail guard pastor sexually abused Rikers inmates as supervisors stood idly by, lawsuit alleges
Dave Arnold

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