Lawsuit alleges sexual assault, harassment at women’s prison
Ten women have filed a lawsuit alleging they were sexually assaulted by four guards and one Department of Public Safety worker while incarcerated.
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Ten women have filed a lawsuit alleging they were sexually assaulted and harassed by four guards and one Department of Public Safety worker while incarcerated at the Women’s Community Correctional Center in Kailua.
The complaint, filed Thursday in federal court by attorney Myles Breiner, alleges the sexual assaults and harassment occurred between 2013 and 2016.
The lawsuit alleges the state has disregarded “an obvious and ongoing pattern and practice of sexual abuse of inmates by both male and female guards and employees at WCCC that goes back at least 25 years.”
The complaint further alleges the state has disregarded the safety of the women and other WCCC inmates, their rights, and failed to properly hire, train or supervise the guards and workers. It also alleges that policies and procedures created an unsafe and threatening environment for the female inmates.
The unnamed plaintiffs, identified as Jane Does 1-10, are suing adult correctional officers Chavon Freitas, Taofi Magalei, Brent Bauman and Gauta Vaa, and DPS employee James Sinatra, individually and in their official capacities.
Also being sued are the state of Hawaii, DPS Director Nolan Espinda in his official capacity and WCCC Warden Eric Tanaka, individually and in his capacity as warden.
The women allege they were sometimes encouraged and coerced into performing sexual acts, given special privileges, drugs, cigarettes, makeup, clothes, candy and other gifts. Other times, they allege, they were forced or the guards raped them.
They allege they feared retribution and were ridiculed and belittled.
Jane Doe 9 alleges she witnessed sexual activities by one guard and her cellmate. The guard gave them crystal methamphetamine and other gifts, and four days later on Dec. 24, 2015, Jane Doe 9 said she attempted suicide by hanging herself in her cell. She survived but was partially paralyzed from the neck down.