Prison Chaplain Who Used the Bible to Manipulate Sexual Abuse Victim Sentence to 7 Years

Photo by Matthew Ansley on Unsplash

A former prison chaplain who used Bible verses to intimidate his sexual abuse victim into silence has been sentenced to seven years behind bars.

James Theodore Highhouse, the former chaplain at the Federal Correctional Institution Dublin in Dublin, California, was sentenced last week in the federal court in the Northern District of California, The Christian Post reported.

When Highhouse was arrested in January, he was the fourth employee of the prison facility in a matter of months to be charged with sexual abuse of inmates.

In the former minister’s case, he stood accused of using Biblical parables and his victim’s faith against her to prevent her from exposing the abuse and subsequently lying to federal agents about his actions.

“Within our corrections system, chaplains are supposed to provide hope and spiritual guidance,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said upon his sentencing. “Instead, this chaplain abused his authority and betrayed the public trust.”

Highhouse, who began abusing his victim in 2018 during private meetings in his office, “used Biblical parables and the victim’s religious beliefs to manipulate her and coerce her into submitting to him,” according to court documents.

“Highhouse committed sexual abuse in the chapel office, and according to evidence presented at the hearing, to keep the victim from reporting him and avoid detection, he would tell her that no one would believe her because she was an inmate and he was a chaplain.”

When the unidentified prisoner finally reported his actions and the DOJ and FBI launched an investigation, Highhouse repeatedly lied about his actions to federal officials.

“He exploited this trust and sexually abused an inmate under his care, and then lied in an effort to cover up his crimes,” said Special Agent in Charge Zachary Shroyer. “The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General will continue to root out this kind of abuse and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Highhouse pled guilty to five counts of sexual abuse and lying to federal agents. He was facing up to 39 years in prison.

He will instead serve 84 months with five years of supervised release.

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