Four years ago, at 3:15 a.m. on April 5, 1981, "a woman was discovered concealed under the covers of a bed in a dormitory" of a D.C. government minimum security correctional facility for men, apparently the Lorton Reformatory. Two residents were found under the same bed.

That bizarre situation came to light in a decision just issued by the D.C. Office of Employee Appeals. A three-member board said a correctional officer's conduct in relation to the episode justified the five-day suspension without pay imposed on him at the time.

According to the board's findings, the officer was on duty at a disco party in the facility's gym the prior evening when an inmate approached him and asked if he would like to have sex with his female guest. "No way," responded the officer, who said he kept his eye on the inmate and noted suspicious but inconclusive behavior. Of the resident's offer, the officer said he considered it "a joke."

At 10:30 p.m., after the officer went off duty, a van driver told him one visitor had not left the installation in the van. But the officer thought everyone had gone. The next morning, he reported the van driver's statement to a superior.

Meanwhile, at 3:15 a.m., the bed incident was discovered by someone else. The woman contended she had been held against her will and raped repeatedly. She was not charged with wrongdoing.

The officer was accused of failure to report "any condition or situation . . . which appears to be hazardous" (the van driver's statement) and permitting a too friendly relationship with the inmate who first approached him. The employe did not appeal the board's final ruling.