Arizona Inmate Pleads Guilty to Raping Prison Teacher

An inmate accused raping a teacher, who was the subject of a New Times cover story on assaults of teachers in the Arizona prison system, pleaded guilty this week. 

Jacob Harvey, 21, did not take a plea agreement.

Prison time for his crimes — rape, kidnapping, and assault with a deadly weapon —  won’t begin until after he finishes his current term in 2041, according to the Pinal County Attorney’s Office. It is likely he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Harvey, who was one year into a 30-year sentence at Eyman State Prison in Florence, assaulted the teacher while she proctored a GED test on July 30, 2014. He waited until all the other students had left the classroom, then asked her to unlock the bathroom for him, wrestled her to the ground, and stabbed her in the head with a pen.

He previously had been convicted of brutally beating and repeatedly raping a Glendale woman in front of her toddler son in 2011.

The teacher, 35, is suing the Arizona Department of Corrections for $4 million, alleging that lax security practices, staffing shortages, and poor mental healthcare for inmates contributed to the rape (New Times told her story in the July cover story "Just Us"). The teacher was left alone in a room full of sex offenders with no guards and no cameras. Nobody heard her cries for help.

The Arizona Division of Occupational Health and Safety fined the department $14,000 for the incident after concluding that teachers and proctors working in Arizona prisons “were not provided adequate workplace violence controls and practices.” The Department of Corrections filed an appeal in February.

The teacher has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome and gets panic attacks in crowded places. She said she may never return to the classroom.

Her biggest concern now, she told New Times, is “making sure this doesn’t happen to someone else.” 
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Elizabeth Stuart
Contact: Elizabeth Stuart