Teen-age pris­oner raped by in­mate, in­fected with HIV

Ripon Bulletin - - Local / State -

BA­TON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A teenage in­mate who was in­car­cer­ated with adults was raped by a pris­oner who in­fected the teenager with HIV, ac­cord­ing to a fed­eral law­suit that ac­cuses the Louisiana jail of neg­li­gence.

The law­suit, filed Mon­day, also ac­cuses East Ba­ton Rouge Par­ish Sher­iff Sid Gautreaux and two deputies of vi­o­lat­ing the teen’s con­sti­tu­tional rights and dis­re­gard­ing a fed­eral law that should have kept the teen seg­re­gated from the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion in­mates. It seeks un­spec­i­fied mon­e­tary dam­ages from the sher­iff, the jail’s war­den and an­other deputy.

The teen was 17 years old, met the cri­te­ria for a “high risk sex­ual vic­tim” un­der the Prison Rape Elim­i­na­tion Act and should have re­mained seg­re­gated, the suit said. In­stead, it said, the teen was trans­ferred from the ju­ve­nile wing and at­tacked last Fe­bru­ary by a man await­ing trial on rape and rob­bery charges.

“This sex­ual preda­tor, armed with a deadly dis­ease, was at high risk not only of rap­ing other in­mates, but in­fect­ing them with HIV. He should have been put in iso­la­tion to pro­tect the other in­mates,” the suit said.

But a sher­iff’s office spokes­woman, Casey Ray­born Hicks, dis­putes that the teen should have been clas­si­fied as a high-risk sex­ual vic­tim and said he was placed in gen­eral pop­u­la­tion only af­ter he turned 18. Hicks said in­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve the rape oc­curred in May 2017, roughly three months af­ter his 18th birth­day.

“Un­for­tu­nately, those that file law­suits against the Sher­iff’s Office can make claims that have no merit and must be dis­puted in court,” Hicks said in an email Tues­day. “In ad­di­tion, when such in­mates make claims in ref­er­ence to their med­i­cal sta­tus, due to le­gal re­stric­tions, the Sher­iff’s Office can­not pub­licly re­fute these claims even when they have no merit.”

The suit says the teen, who was await­ing trial in a bur­glary case, was 5-foot-10 (1.7 me­ters), weighed 125 pounds (56 kilo­grams) and is “mildly men­tally hand­i­capped” from fe­tal al­co­hol syn­drome. His age, size and “men­tal makeup” left him at high risk of be­ing sex­u­ally as­saulted in jail, ac­cord­ing to the suit.

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