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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Inmate suit claims sex attack

By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer

A Hawai'i prison inmate who alleges she was sexually assaulted by two guards at a Mainland prison has sued the state and the private operator of the prison.

The suit, filed Monday, alleges that the plaintiff was attacked June 16, 2008, by male corrections officers at the Otter Creek Correctional Center in Kentucky.

The woman is serving a life prison sentence for murder and kidnapping convictions.

Otter Creek is run by the Corrections Corporation of America, a private company under contract with the state Department of Public Safety to house prison inmates at Mainland facilities.

Allegations by inmates of widespread sexual abuse by guards and employees at Otter Creek prompted Hawai'i last August to pull all 168 of its female inmates from the facility and bring them back to the Islands to serve their sentences.

The lawsuit is at least the second filed by a former Otter Creek female inmate against the state and Corrections Corporation of America.

The defendants in that first suit have denied wrongdoing, and the case is now awaiting trial.

The new suit alleges that the state had notice of sexual assaults at the facility but took no reasonable steps to protect the safety of the inmates.