Prison guard accused of raping an inmate in May has been suspended following his arrest this week _lowres

Michael Gaiter

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections suspended an officer this week after he was arrested on an accusation he raped an inmate at a Baton Rouge hospital in May.

Correctional Officer Michael Gaiter is accused of raping a 30-year-old state Department of Corrections inmate who had been taken to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center on May 4, a Baton Rouge Police report says. The rape is alleged to have occurred the next morning.

Inconsistencies in Gaiter’s story to police eventually led to his arrest, Baton Rouge Police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said.

The inmate reported the assault on May 28, said Pam Laborde, spokeswoman for the Louisiana DOC. The Elayn Hunt Correctional Center initially conducted an investigation at the hospital and Baton Rouge Police took over shortly thereafter.

Gaiter, 58, was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the police investigation, Laborde said.

According to the inmate, Gaiter unshackled him about 2 a.m. to let him go to the bathroom. When the man returned, he noticed Gaiter sitting in a chair with his gun in his lap, the police report says.

After Gaiter raped him, he showed the inmate photos the guard had of the inmate’s family, though the inmate says he had not met Gaiter before, the report says.

Police later discovered a prior complaint against Gaiter, 15952 Manchester Drive, Baton Rouge, that said he made unwanted advances toward another inmate while at a New Orleans hospital, the report says.

Gaiter was accused of “inappropriate comments directed to an offender, but that allegation was found to be unsubstantiated,” Laborde said.

Police told Elayn Hunt investigators on July 22 that they found no physical evidence from DNA samples sent to the crime lab supporting the inmate’s story, and based on these findings, Gaiter, who started work at the DOC in December 2006, returned to work July 22, Laborde said. He was no longer assigned to a hospital security detail, though.

After multiple interviews with the inmate, however, Baton Rouge Police decided to arrest Gaiter based on inconsistencies in the officer’s story, McKneely said.

A warrant for Gaiter’s arrest on a count of aggravated rape and malfeasance in office was issued Tuesday, and the Sheriff’s Office arrested him Wednesday, police reports show.

After he was arrested, the Department of Corrections suspended Gaiter pending the result of the criminal charges against him, Laborde said.

“The department has a zero tolerance for staff and offender sexual misconduct,” Laborde said.

Follow Danielle Maddox on Twitter, @Dani_Maddox4.