State correction officer charged with having sex with inmate 

Lawyer for alleged victim calls the guard’s actions a ‘romance scam’ 

A FORMER state correction officer pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of having sexual relations with an inmate.   

Charlotte Ferro, who worked at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, was arraigned in Clinton District Court on one count of a prison guard having sexual relations with a prisoner. She pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance, with orders to stay away from the alleged victim and have no indirect contact with him. 

Ferro’s attorney, Blake Rubin, said he would not comment on the facts of the case outside of the courtroom. “At this point, all we can say is Ms. Ferro adamantly denies the charges and is very much looking froward to her day in court,” Rubin said. 

Souza-Baranowski, the state’s only maximum-security prison for sentenced male inmates, has been a hotspot for trouble in the state corrections system. In January 2020, it was the site of an assault on correction officers by inmates. In a class-action lawsuit filed in January of this year, prisoner advocates charge that following the melee inmates were subjected to weeks of “unprovoked, retaliatory violence.”  

The charge against Ferro was brought in an unusual fashion, through a civilian complaint. John Swomley, the attorney who represents the alleged victim, brought the case to a magistrate, who found that there was probable cause to charge Ferro with a crime. Swomley said he brought the case that way because an inmate with a complaint about a prison employee does not have easy access to the police to navigate bringing a criminal charge. 

According to state payroll records, Ferro worked for the Department of Correction from 2019 to 2021. 

A department spokesperson said the agency investigates every allegation of staff misconduct that is brought to its attention, and Ferro has not worked for the agency since March 8, 2021. The spokesperson referred additional questions to the Worcester County district attorney’s office. 

The Worcester District Attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the case, declined to comment on the substance of the allegations. 

The alleged victim is in prison for raping a teenage girl. CommonWealth is not naming him because he is an alleged victim of sexual assault in the current case. 

Swomley claims that Ferro tried to groom the prisoner and exploit him for financial gain, because he has a civil lawsuit pending that could result in a financial settlement. 

Swomley identified the alleged victim as a former foster child who was horrifically abused by his foster and adoptive parents, Susan and Raymond Blouin. The couple and Susan Blouin’s boyfriend were criminally charged for the abuse and pleaded guilty. Additional charges against them are pending, according to court documents. Four former foster children, including the man involved in this case, sued the Department of Children and Families, several DCF employees, and the Blouins in Middlesex Superior Court. The lawsuit is pending and has gotten some media attention. 

Swomley alleged that Ferro perpetrated a “romance scam.” “He engaged with her in what he thought was a romantic relationship but was really a con game from her end of things,” Swomley said.  

A copy of the magistrate’s finding says Ferro had sexual relations with the inmate several times between September 2020 and February 2021.  

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Shira Schoenberg

Reporter, CommonWealth

About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

A statement written by the victim and filed with the clerk magistrate said the two met when he was in the secure treatment unit, a disciplinary unit for people with mental illness. He claims they sent notes back and forth and she purchased a phone for them to use. Ferro used a false name with him. He says Ferro told him personal things about herself, and encouraged him to fall in love with her. He says she engaged in sexual activities with him. She also asked him to have his foster mother send her money and suggested he sign his power of attorney over to her.  

State law prohibits a prison employee from engaging in sexual relations with an inmate, regardless of consent.