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Former Rockingham County corrections officer faces new charges in prison sexual assault case

BRENTWOOD — The trial of a former corrections officer accused of allegedly forcing two female Rockingham County Jail inmates to perform sexual acts has been postponed because another victim has come forward.

Diangelo A. Cruz Rivera, 22, of Haverhill, Massachusetts, was scheduled to go to trial on July 8. However, his defense attorney successfully filed a motion to postpone the trial due to new charges filed in the case.

Rockingham County Jail in Brentwood.

Cruz Rivera was charged in June with a third felony count of sexual assault, along with three other misdemeanors, one count of solicitation of prostitution and two counts of sexual assault-position of authority.

Deputy County Attorney Katelyn Brown confirmed the new charge is a result of a new victim coming forward. An indictment is not an indication of guilt; it means a grand jury found enough evidence to warrant a trial.

Cruz Rivera was previously charged last year with one felony count of sexual assault and one count of attempted felony sexual assault, as well as three misdemeanors, one count of solicitation of prostitution and two counts of sexual assault-position of authority.

Defense attorney Leonidas Chakalos filed a motion on June 18, asking for the trial to be postponed after a grand jury returned the latest indictment.

“Given the new allegation, which involves a new alleged victim, counsel is seeking additional time to prepare for trial,” Chakalos said.

Cruz Rivera has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has been free on bail since August 18, 2023.

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Former prison guard accused of forcing female inmates to perform sexual acts

According to the indictments and misdemeanor complaints, the alleged assaults occurred between May 30, 2022, and June 26, 2022.

Cruz Rivera allegedly forced an inmate to expose her breasts, claiming he wished he could have sex with her. “…But it’s all on camera,” Cruz Rivera allegedly told the inmate, according to the indictment.

Cruz Rivera also allegedly ordered two other female inmates in separate incidents to perform a sexual act while he watched.

He is also alleged to have asked two of the inmates to perform oral sex on him in exchange for money, leading to the misdemeanor charges of solicitation of prostitution.

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Rockingham County Jail Superintendent Jason Henry said Cruz Rivera worked at the jail from March 2021 until Aug. 23, 2022, when he resigned.

Henry said an internal investigation was conducted in addition to the criminal investigation. The internal investigation, he said, did not result in changes to policy or practice because “the individual did not comply with what we have in place.”

Cruz Rivera faces a prison sentence of between 3 1/2 and 7 years for each of the felony charges. If convicted of the misdemeanors, he faces a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison for each charge.

This article originally appeared in the Portsmouth Herald: Former Rockingham County Jail officer faces new charges of forced sex acts