D.A. Vance Announces Trial Conviction of Five Corrections Officers for Illegal Strip Searches of Female Visitors at Manhattan Detention Complex


March 13, 2020

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr., today announced the trial conviction of LESLIE-ANN ABSALOM, 54, a former Department of Correction (“DOC”) Captain, as well as DOC Officers DAPHNE FARMER, 49, JENNIFER GEORGE, 33, LISETTE RODRIGUEZ, 52, and ALIFA WAITERS, 45, for performing unlawful searches of visitors to the Manhattan Detention Complex (“MDC”) and filing false paperwork to conceal their illegal conduct. A New York Supreme Court jury found the defendants guilty of Conspiracy in the Sixth Degree as well as various other counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, Official Misconduct, and Unlawful Imprisonment among other charges.

“On five different occasions, these defendants conducted illegal and highly invasive searches of visitors to the Manhattan Detention Complex, and then three filed false paperwork to cover up their unlawful acts,” said District Attorney Vance. “Visiting an incarcerated loved one can be a difficult and stressful experience without the addition of this type of humiliating encounter. It is my hope that today’s convictions serve as a warning – regardless of whether the perpetrator is an inmate or an officer, illegal behavior in Manhattan’s jails will not be tolerated.”

New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”) Commissioner Margaret Garnett said, “Visitor searches are essential to stemming the flow of dangerous contraband in our City’s jails; however, it is imperative that these searches are conducted lawfully and with respect for the individual being searched. Today’s convictions underscore the commitment by DOI and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to protect the rights of visitors as well as hold accountable those Correction Officers who use degrading and illegal techniques to conduct visitor searches.  DOI thanks the District Attorney’s Office for its continued partnership and prosecution of these crimes.”

Assistant D.A.s Michael Mulanaphy and Daniel Passeser handled the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant D.A.s Julio Cuevas, Jr., Deputy Chief of the Public Corruption Unit, and Luke Rettler, Chief of the Public Corruption Unit, as well as Executive Assistant D.A. Michael Sachs, Chief of the Investigation Division. Assistant D.A. Emily Farber, Investigative Analysts Benjamin Drachman and Kate Daly and Senior Rackets Investigator Christo Christonikos also assisted with the case.

District Attorney Vance thanked DOI, including Special Investigator Lawrence Bond and Confidential Investigators Alethea Cruz, Kathryn Kifner and Gregory Mangini, under the supervision of Assistant Inspector General Mercedes Bayon, Deputy Inspector General Whitney Ferguson, Inspector General Dana A. Roth, Deputy Commissioner/Chief of Investigations Dominick Zarrella and First Deputy Commissioner Daniel Cort.

 

Defendant Information:

LESLIE-ANN ABSALOM, D.O.B. 1/8/1966

Brooklyn, NY

Charges:

  • Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony, one count
  • Official Misconduct, a class A misdemeanor, two counts
  • Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count
  • Conspiracy in the Sixth Degree, a class B misdemeanor, one count

 

DAPHNE FARMER, D.O.B. 4/19/70

Manhattan, NY

Convicted:

  • Official Misconduct, a class A misdemeanor, three counts
  • Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, two counts
  • Conspiracy in the Sixth Degree, a class B misdemeanor, one count

 

JENNIFER GEORGE, D.O.B. 8/4/1986

Brooklyn, NY

Convicted:

  • Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony, six counts
  • Making a Punishable False Written Statement, a class A misdemeanor, two counts
  • Official Misconduct, a class A misdemeanor, four counts
  • Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, three counts
  • Conspiracy in the Sixth Degree, a class B misdemeanor, one count

 

LISETTE RODRIGUEZ, D.O.B. 8/13/67

Bronx, NY

Convicted:

  • Official Misconduct, a class A misdemeanor, four counts
  • Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, two counts
  • Conspiracy in the Sixth Degree, a class B misdemeanor, one count

 

ALIFA WAITERS, D.O.B. 2/13/1974

Orange County, NY

Charges:

  • Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony, two counts
  • Official Misconduct, a class A misdemeanor, three counts
  • Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, two counts
  • Conspiracy in the Sixth Degree, a class B misdemeanor, one count