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Jail inmate beaten after request to be removed from general population was denied, ACLU says

September 9, 2010 | 10:04 am

A caregiver convicted in April of torture and elder abuse at an upscale retirement home was brutally beaten by other inmates in County Jail on two occasions despite requesting to be removed from general population housing, according to a sworn statement he made to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Cesar Ulloa, 22, said his crimes made him a target: The Reseda man often laughed as he viciously attacked residents at Silverado Senior Living, several of whom were too dementia-ridden to call for help, prosecutors alleged.

In one case, a fellow caregiver said she saw Ulloa jump on a mute 78-year-old woman's chest, body-slamming her into a bed when she struggled.

According to Ulloa's statement released Thursday, he was in general population housing at Pitchess Detention Center in April when another inmate brought a copy of The Times, which previewed Ulloa's case and featured photo, into his dorm. Other inmates, according to his statement, beat him so badly he suffered a broken eye socket and brain damage.

When his verdict was read that month, the boyish former caregiver was nursing a black eye, and said he'd been attacked.

According to his statement, he asked to be held in protective custody after he recovered, but was mocked. His request was denied.

"The other inmates [at Twin Towers Correctional Facility] ... knew about my case and beat me up the same day," his ACLU statement reads. "I was knocked unconscious and woke up the next morning in a pool of my blood."

High-profile inmates and inmates charged with taboo crimes like child molestation are usually separated from the general population in county jails. A Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman could not immediately verify Ulloa's statement.

The details were revealed in a report released by the ACLU on Thursday morning blasting the conditions at county jails, particularly Men's Central.

"One of their paramount duties is to take all reasonable steps to keep people in their custody safe, no matter what they think of them," said ACLU attorney Peter Eliasberg. "To decline a request like [Ulloa's] is shocking, especially since he had once been beaten up."

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore could not comment on Ulloa specifically, but said inmate safety is a primary concern for jail deputies.

"There are several layers of oversight," Whitmore said. "You just cannot get away with the rampant violence the ACLU claims."

Ulloa is currently serving a life sentence. His abuses were particularly shocking because the Calabasas facilities where he was a low-level employee are about as close to a four-star hotel as retirement homes get, with relatives shelling out upward of $70,000 a year to house their loved ones. One employee said she saw Ulloa leap off a dresser and land with both knees on an elderly man's abdomen. He was also accused of using one wheelchair-using resident's arm to hit another resident suffering from dementia, encouraging the two to fight.

-- Robert Faturechi