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Teacher Raped After Being Left Alone With Sex Offender in Prison

PHOENIX -- A teacher at an Arizona prison was alone in a room full of sex offenders before being stabbed and sexually assaulted by a convicted rapist, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The attack occurred Jan. 30 at the Eyman prison's Meadows Unit, which houses about 1,300 rapists, child molesters and other sex offenders. The teacher was administering a high school equivalency test to about a half-dozen inmates in a classroom with no guard nearby and only a radio to summon help. The Department of Corrections issued only a bare-bones press release after the attack, but the AP pieced together what happened based on interviews and investigatory reports obtained under the Arizona Public Records Act.

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After the last of the other inmates left, Jacob Harvey asked the teacher if she could open the bathroom and then attacked her, records show. Harvey is accused of stabbing her in the head with a pen, forcing her to the ground and raping her.

The teacher told investigators that she screamed for help, but none came.

Harvey was in the first year of a 30-year sentence for raping a Glendale woman in November 2011. Just 17 at the time, he had knocked on the woman's door in the middle of the day, asked for a drink of water, then forced his way inside, where he repeatedly raped and beat her while her 2-year-old child was in the apartment. He fled naked when the woman's roommate arrived home.

Image: Jacob Harvey
Jacob Harvey is shown shortly after he was accused of attacking a state prison teacher in Florence, Ariz., on Jan. 30. Arizona Department of Corrections via AP

He was arrested after DNA evidence connected him to the crime, and he pleaded guilty.

Harvey was initially classified as a "Class 4" security risk, one notch lower than the highest level. Six months later, despite violating prison rules at least once, he was reclassified at a lower level.

Department of Corrections spokesman Doug Nick said classrooms at prisons across the state are having cameras installed. But he said no administrative investigation was launched because there was no need, and no one was disciplined. He said all prisons are dangerous places and staff are trained accordingly.

"This is an assault that reflects the fact that inmates in our system often act out violently, and it is the inmate suspect who is responsible for this despicable act," he said.

The woman, who was not critically injured, has filed a worker's compensation claim against the state and did not want to comment on case. The AP does not usually identify sexual assault victims.

Internal emails obtained by the AP show that prisons Director Charles Ryan ordered all non-corrections officer staff at prisons statewide to be issued pepper spray and trained in its use just days after the attack.

Harvey was charged last month with sexual assault, kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon. A public defender was appointed, and he pleaded not guilty at his arraignment. The public defender assigned to his case, Paula Cook, declined to comment.

Harvey was convicted in a prison administrative hearing of sexually assaulting the staff member. Three weeks after the rape, he assaulted another prison employee, although records don't show any details. His security classification was raised two levels, to the highest, nearly three months after the teacher was assaulted.

- The Associated Press