Lawsuit: Warren County Jail Guards Brutally Raped, Tortured Female Inmate
February 1, 2017 (Fault Lines) — A federal lawsuit brought by a Cincinnati woman against several guards and medical staff from the Warren County Jail contain allegations of scandalous brutality at the hands of the defendants. The factual allegations describe how for 11 days that luckless woman was: (i) brutally raped at least twice by several guards; (ii) left with a shattered shoulder, which occurred during the assault; and (iii) refused prescribed medicine for her epilepsy, which resulted in seizures, withdrawal and eventual incapacitation.
The “worst” of the allegations is listed first above, but it was the nurses’ refusal to provide her with prescribed medicine that resulted in her incapacitation and thus “failure to comply” with the guards’ orders, which brought upon her the wrath of the screws, in spades. From the Washington Post:
The woman was held at the jail in May 2013, after turning herself in on a four-year-old warrant for deception to obtain drugs. The lawsuit alleges the jail’s nurses refused to give the woman her prescribed medicine for her epilepsy, causing her to experience seizures and withdrawal, leaving her debilitated in her jail cell. Incapacitated and unable to defend herself, her jailers allegedly Tased her, took away her clothing, turned off her running water and forced her to drink out of the toilet.
The corrections officers allegedly held the woman facedown as they assaulted her, the woman claims. On one occasion, as she lay on her bunk on her stomach, naked, at least two corrections officers allegedly climbed on her and raped her. During one assault, she experienced a seizure and bit her tongue. Her orthopedic surgeon said bone shattered on her shoulder was caused by blunt-force trauma consistent with sexual assault and would later have to be surgically treated, the suit says.
Amazingly for this woman, the withholding of water was not the worse of her problems at the Warren County Jail. But that has become part of the disgraceful pattern of indifference towards the sick or dying in America’s jails. Whether someone is in custody while charges are pending (and thus presumed innocent until proven guilty) or is there to satisfy their debt to society in the form of a sentence of one year or less, more and more hearts (stout or otherwise) have ceased to beat inside county jails. While some inmates like the plaintiff in this case survived desperate suicide attempts brought upon by deplorable conditions, others have succeeded, under questionable circumstances.
In the middle of all this madness, and six days into her sentence, the woman was sent to the hospital by her tormentors, where doctors found sperm in her urine. This evidence is circumstantial, yet still very powerful, as Henry David Thoreau said about finding a trout in your milk.
Throughout her stay at that proverbial hellhole, one of the defendant nurses, Krys Lambert, purportedly said that the inmate was “playing” them, and even refused to give her medications after the jail doctor prescribed them. She instead told the Warren County Jail Major that the woman had received the medications since her admission. As if things weren’t bad enough with the guards’ flagrant disregard for the law and a basic sense of humanity, if nurses were complicit with this brutal spectacle, it adds to the stench. It would take these confederates at least two levels down Dante’s circles of hell.
Ironically, the day the rape occurred, she was on suicide watch that required monitoring every ten minutes. But, as alleged in the lawsuit, the guards covered the windows with black garbage bags to conceal the assault. It propounds the nefariousness of their conduct, as they tried to conceal it, but then again: wouldn’t the bum charged with checking up on her think something was off if the windows were covered and/or screams emanated from that crime scene?
The wanton recklessness (a plastic bag over the window? seriously?) and nefariousness of the conduct alleged in this case brings up a daunting question: Was this the first instance of guards raping a female inmate (incapacitated or not)? If the lawsuit reflects what happened to this woman, the likely answer is no. Actually, defendant Sergeant Johnson, had the gall to raise a “consent” defense in a previous lawsuit that was dismissed without prejudice.
There are those who claim that rape inside jails or prisons is unavoidable, or that stercus accidit. Others go as far as to say that inmates are getting their just desserts (“she must’ve done something to be in there”) or indulging in their own desires. Hell, even popular sugar water commercials have made a joke about rape as a reliable feature of incarceration, same as those stand up comedians who can’t restrain themselves from throwing a “don’t drop the soap” joke in their act.
But to state the obvious, a crime outside prison walls is still a crime within them. And inmates (at least in theory) are not afforded a “lesser protected status” once they check into these places. It’s also despicable when it is done by guards on inmates, where the power imbalance is insanely skewed in favor of the screws. Rape and abuse were widely condemned when it occurs in places like Abu Ghraib, where the subjects are foreign nationals and the perpetrators are members of the armed forces.
Plus, what happened to this woman can happen to you, your wife, mother, sister or daughter. Yes, she had a years old warrant, but there have been instances when people go inside for not paying a traffic ticket, and yet end up leaving the county jail in a body bag. It’s a ghastly national disgrace that our leaders and fellow constituents prefer not face, until it happens to one of their own.
*Those sentenced to over one year of incarceration are sent to state prisons, while anything less lands them in county jails, where conditions are usually more decrepit.