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    Wednesday, June 12, 2024

    Sex offender identifying as a female seeks housing in women’s prison

    A convicted sex offender who identifies as an intersex woman but is housed at a men’s prison requested on Wednesday that she serve her newest prison sentence at the state’s only woman’s prison.

    Brandy Wood, 28, was in New London Superior Court to plead no contest to the charge of risk of injury to a minor and accept what is expected to be a 2-1/2 year prison sentence.

    Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe someone whose sexual anatomy, including genitals, internal reproductive organs, and chromosomes, “ fall outside of traditional conceptions of male or female bodies,“ according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

    Attorney Michael Miller, the public defender representing Wood, said he plans to request at Wood’s March 14 sentencing that she be housed in a gender appropriate unit at York Correctional Institution in Niantic, the state’s only women’s prison. Judge Hillary Strackbein said Wednesday that prison accommodations are the decision of the state Department of Correction.

    In 2018, the state passed a law that establishes standards for treatment of prisoners with gender identity that differs from their assigned sex at birth, including provisions that give them the right to be housed in a facility that matches their gender identity. The law also allows prisoners to have access to prison commissary items, clothing and programming consistent with the prisoner’s gender identity and to be searched by a staff member whose gender matches the prisoner’s.

    Department of Correction policy states that the DOC “shall identify, diagnose, treat and manage inmates who identify as gender non-conforming, and/or who have an intersex condition.” The policy also has provisions for an inmate to be transferred from one prison to another after an evaluation and assessment.

    A DOC spokesperson, on Thursday, said there are 50 individuals who have “gender non-conforming accommodations,” currently in the custody of the DOC and 72% of them, or 36 prisoners, are housed at York.

    Studies indicate that transgender inmates experience higher rates of harassment and sexual violence, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

    Wood, being held on a $200,000 bond, is a convicted sexual offender who is currently being held at Cheshire Correctional Institution, which houses men, DOC records indicate.

    The state’s sexual offender registry lists Wood’s gender as female and aliases as Kyle Bailey, Steven Bennett, Kunani-Brady Moana and Kalakaua-Wood.

    Wood was convicted in 2015 of two counts of risk of injury to a minor and second-degree sexual assault of a minor for “forcible sexual contact with a 15-year-old female.” She also had violated terms of her probation and was on parole when the latest offense was committed.

    In court on Wednesday, Assistant State’s Attorney Theresa Anne Ferryman said Wood, in the new criminal case, engaged in an inappropriate online relationship with a 13-year-old girl in Park City, Utah in the summer of 2021.

    Former New London police youth investigator Joseph Buzzelli, who investigated the case, said in the arrest warrant affidavit that Wood was living in New London when she sent nude videos and photos of herself and coerced the young female victim to take and send nude photos of herself.

    Wood and the victim had communicated via text, FaceTime and Snapchat and met on the video-chatting website called Omegle, police said. In addition to nude photos, police said Wood has masturbated in front of the juvenile and bought the victim presents such as a “full body fur suit,” that were delivered to her Park City Home. The delivery of the fur suit is apparently what had alerted the victim’s parents that something was amiss, police said.

    Police describe Wood as having the outward appearance of a white male but identifies as a woman. During a forensic interview with victim, police said she described Wood as having a both a penis and a vagina. Police said they later located photos of Wood with a latex suit that made him appear female, a possible reason for the victim’s confusion about Wood’s gender.

    The victim told police Wood had threatened her while trying to obtain nude photos and videos, telling the victim she was a private investigator, knew the victim’s address and would “get on a plane and come find her,” police wrote in the arrest warrant affidavit. In one exchange, Wood told the victim “if you don’t send me nudes I’m going to come to your house and have sex with you.”

    Woods, at her sentencing, is expected to receive a sentence of 10 years suspended after 30 months in prison followed by five years of probation and an undetermined period of time on the state’s sexual offender registry. Ferryman, the prosecutor in the case, said the family of the victim is not satisfied with the length of prison time. Police said the victim’s parents reported the victim had been taken for treatment and “feeling suicidal” after the ordeal.