Lawsuit Against Two Prison Guards, Alleging Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment

(June 4, 2012) Two former female inmates have filed lawsuits against two former corrections officers, who already face criminal charges in state court in relation to sexual encounters with prisoners between 2009 and 2010.

This lawsuit was removed to the U.S. District Court on June 1, adding the charges of threats and oppression to the suit. These former corrections officers join the county, its jail, its prison board, and the warden as defendants in this suit.

The lawsuit claims that one of the guards was known as “the cool one” by female inmates, but in December 2009, “Ms. Cool” kissed and groped one of the plaintiffs, followed by other, similar incidents.

During one assault, the other guard in this lawsuit threatened to place the inmate into restrictive custody, and tried to hurt the inmate’s hand. This type of inappropriate behavior continued from November 2009 through March 2010.

The lawsuit states that the inmates were too intimidated to file grievances, because they were threatened with retaliation. Therefore, one of the former prison guards continuously conducted unwarranted full-body searches on the other plaintiff, and made inappropriate contact.

The two prison guards in this lawsuit are no longer working at the jail.

The county had the case transferred to federal court. The lawyer representing the county, but not the guards, said that “we felt it should be in federal court, because they are civil rights based claims.”

In state court, one of the prison guards in this lawsuit faces a total of 20 counts of terroristic threats, harassment, institutional sexual assault, witness intimidation, and official oppression. The other prison guard in this lawsuit faces one count of official oppression and one count of terroristic threats.

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