Inmates raped after guard sold their cell key

Inmates raped after guard sells key of their cell

MISE À DAY

Female inmates in a US prison have filed a complaint after experiencing a “night of terror”, a guard who they say sold access to their cell to male prisoners who assaulted them and raped. 

Shortly before midnight on October 23, 2021, several inmates of the Clark County, Indiana jail broke into the women's quarters, according to two complaints filed recently with federal justice.

These men, who had covered their faces with sheets and towels, “threatened, harassed, intimidated, assaulted” them for hours. At least two of them were raped, write the lawyers of 28 women.

According to them, the prisoners had obtained a key to the female dormitories from a guard, David Lowe. One of the complaints, brought by eight anonymous detainees, accuses her of having received 1000 dollars in exchange for this key.

“Curiously, despite the presence of surveillance cameras (…), not a single one of the guards that night came to the aid” of the dozens of victims, note its authors.

Worse, according to the complainants, when one of them finally dared call for help, they have been punished. 

A guard, who arrived just after the men had left, deprived the prisoners of their “right to the dark”, ordering them to keep the lights on for 72 hours. In the following days, several of their personal items (pillows, pencils, etc.) were confiscated.

These women are asking the courts for damages for “the violation of their civil rights” and to set up a federal trial for Warden David Lowe, but also the county sheriff who they say failed in his duty to keep them safe.

The Warden has already been suspended and charged by the Indiana justice for “dereliction of duty” and “agreement with an inmate”. 

Contacted by AFP, the sheriff did not respond.

With more than two million prisoners, the United States has the largest prison population of all democracies. Their prisons are regularly criticized and many guards are disciplined each year for various abuses.