Biden Judicial Nominee Sent Trans Male Rapist to Female Prison, Arguing Safety Concerns Were Overblown. Now, Sources Say He is Exposing Himself to Inmates.

Judge Sarah Netburn wrote that any concerns the prisoner would hurt a woman were 'overblown.'

Sarah Netburn (
July 10, 2024

A judge nominated by President Joe Biden to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Sarah Netburn, is facing questions from lawmakers after recommending that a transgender, twice-convicted male sex offender be placed in a female prison.

At the time, the judge, Sarah Netburn, dismissed concerns that the inmate's presence there would pose a threat to incarcerated women.

But two sources tell the Washington Free Beacon that the inmate, William McClain, who goes by July Justine Shelby, allegedly exposed himself to female inmates. According to Debra Nizza, a former Carswell inmate released in 2016 who remains in communication with female inmates at Carswell federal women's prison in Texas, an inmate told her that McClain pulled his penis from his pants before a group of female inmates. Nizza told the Free Beacon that an inmate related to her that Shelby told the women his penis was "intact" and still functional before wagging it at the women.

Nizza's secondhand account was independently confirmed by David Hogue, an attorney with the Arkansas-based law firm Hogue Corbitt & Ward, who represents one of the inmates. Republicans from the Senate Judiciary Committee have been seeking confirmation of the incident from the federal prison agency since early last week, but prison officials indicated they could neither confirm nor deny the allegations.

"Since being made aware of these reports, the committee has been trying to get confirmation from the Federal Bureau of Prisons," a spokesman for the Judiciary Committee's Republican minority told the Free Beacon. "If accurate, this incident confirms the exact concerns raised by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee about Netburn's judgment and fitness for a lifetime appointment to the bench."

The latest allegations belie Netburn's claims in 2022, when she recommended McClain's transfer to a women's prison, that the transgender inmate's presence would not endanger the safety of female prisoners. Netburn made the recommendation over the objections of federal prison officials, stating that concerns his presence would be "traumatizing and possibly dangerous" were "overblown."

The Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to vote on Netburn's nomination on Thursday.

The harassment was reported to prison officials who briefly moved McClain to an isolation unit, according to both Nizza and Hogue. By June 26, however, he was back in the general population. Representatives for Carswell and the Federal Bureau of Prisons did not respond to a request for comment.

McClain, a 6'2" male, was convicted and sentenced in 1994 for molesting a 9-year-old boy and raping a 17-year-old girl. He was released in 2015, only to get a 15-year federal prison sentence two years later for distributing pornography of adults raping children.

In recommending McClain for female prison, Netburn in 2022 wrote that McClain "identifies as bisexual and her 1994 convictions were against both a male and female." She said McClain's transgenderism expressed itself in "buying herself new clothes, getting hair extensions, wearing jewelry and makeup, and having her nails done." While incarcerated in a men's prison, Netburn noted, McClain "dyed her hair pink and painted her nails" and was approved for prosthetic breasts.

"She is sober, under consistent mental health counseling and medication management, and has maximized and stabilized her hormones within the target ranges for transgender women," Netburn stated. "A theoretical risk of sexual assault by [McClain], without more [evidence], cannot support the [Federal Bureau of Prisons'] position."

Hogue, the attorney who corroborated the McClain incident, is preparing a potential complaint against Carswell on behalf of his client for an alleged rape by a different transgender male inmate who has since left the facility. His client is retaining anonymity for fear of retaliation.

Nizza, the former Carswell inmate, said the facility offers little privacy for women who may want to avoid male inmates. The cells contain four beds and do not have doors, and residents of one cell can see others walking to the toilets and showers.

At Netburn's May 22 confirmation hearing, Texas senator Ted Cruz (R.) asked the nominee whether incarcerated women had the right "not to have a 6'2" man who is a serial rapist put in as their cellmate." The judge responded that "every person who's incarcerated has the right to be safe in their space" but said she "reached a decision based on what the law is."

Moving men into women's prisons and funding their sex-change surgeries has been a priority of progressive activist groups such as Lambda Legal and the Transgender Law Center, both funded by billionaires including George Soros, and the American Civil Liberties Union. Those groups pushed for federal regulations, passed in 2012, to allow cross-sex prison housing. They advocated for—and are defending in court—a California law that lets men move into women's facilities based solely on their gender identification.

Biden ordered federal prisons in 2022 to prioritize transgender inmates' "health and safety" when making housing decisions, even as data show a high rate of trans-identifying males are sex offenders. The U.K. Ministry of Justice reported in 2019 that nearly 60 percent of its male-born transgender inmates were convicted of at least one sexual offense, compared with 3.3 percent of the incarcerated female population and 17 percent of the male population.

Documents from California's prison agency showed in 2022 that one-third of the trans-identifying men seeking entry to female facilities were registered sex offenders.

California taxpayers since 2017 have spent more than $4 million on surgical sex changes and cosmetic "gender-affirming" enhancements, such as laser hair removal, for inmates, the Washington Free Beacon has reported.