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Guard at women’s prison arrested in attempted pimping case

July 5, 2019
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This July 3, 2019, photo provided by the Denver Police Department, shows Joshua Hensley, 38, a guard at a Colorado women's prison who was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of attempted pimping and patronizing a prostitute. Investigators believe he was trying to coerce at least two women to work as prostitutes for him, court records state. (Denver Police Department via AP)

DENVER (AP) — A guard at a Colorado prison for women has been arrested on suspicion of attempted pimping involving a woman who previously served time at the facility, authorities said Friday.

Joshua Hensley, 38, was arrested Wednesday and is also accused of patronizing a prostitute.

Investigators believe he was trying to coerce at least two women to work as prostitutes for him, court records state.

It was not clear if Hensley has an attorney to comment. He remained in custody in Denver ahead of a court appearance.

One woman told police that she was advertising herself as a prostitute on websites and in March recognized one customer as Hensley, an officer at Denver Women’s Correctional Facility, court records state.

The records say the woman had been imprisoned there twice in 2015 and 2017.

The woman said Hensley began texting her, including messages indicating that he wanted her to work for him and providing instructions about how to advertise herself, the records state.

Investigators obtained Hensley’s cellphone records and believe he contacted hundreds of other women with the same type of propositions.

Messages sent to one woman became threatening and were intended to scare the woman into working for him, police said in an affidavit involving Hensley’s arrest.

Annie Skinner, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections, said Hensley has been suspended without pay.

“Our department is obviously shocked by the arrest of one of our correctional officers for this type of alleged behavior,” Dean Williams, the department’s executive director, said in a statement.

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