“Predator on Guard” is a KING 5 investigation that centered on a corrections officer’s sexual abuse of inmates at a small city jail in Forks, Washington.
The multi-part series exposed how city and state institutions ignored red flags, protected the guard and failed the vulnerable women he preyed upon. The reporting also uncovered systemic disparities in how, compared with civilians, corrections officers who sexually abuse inmates are penalized for their crimes.
Feb. 22, 2022: Before a 23-year-old Quileute tribal member died by suicide in her Forks Jail cell, she tearfully reported to authorities that her guard, John Gray, sexually harassed and stalked her. KING 5’s reporting revealed that city leaders fell short in investigating Kimberly Bender's claims. In the year after Bender’s death, Gray pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting four inmates.
April 12, 2022: KING 5 unearthed John Gray’s thick disciplinary record from his 24-year career as a Washington prison guard. Despite a slew of serious violations, reporters found officials at nearly level – from the city of Forks to the state Department of Corrections and Gray’s local union – repeatedly made decisions that allowed the predator to remain on the job. He was a guard with power over a vulnerable population.
Part 3: Why a Washington corrections officer got 20 months in prison for sexually assaulting 4 women
May 16, 2022: KING 5 uncovered how and why John Gray got a light sentence for sexually assaulting four inmates – spending just over a year behind bars. It happened because of a decades-old decision by the Washington state legislature to set lighter penalties for cases involving corrections officers compared with cases involving civilians.
Aug. 18, 2022: Washington senator proposes harsher penalties for jail guards who sexually abuse inmates
Nov. 15, 2022: Forks to pay $1 million to family of Quileute inmate who reported sexual harassment before suicide
Jan. 31, 2023: Washington Senate committee considers harsher penalties for sexually abusive jail guards
March 9, 2022: Washington House committee considers harsher penalties for sexually abusive jail guards under 'Kimberly Bender's law'
March 27, 2023: State legislature passes 'Kimberly Bender's law' to raise penalties for sexually abusive jail guards