28 women have filed a lawsuit for a ‘terrible night’ in an Indiana prison, alleging the detained men bribed prison officers to obtain keys. Two women say they were raped


28 women in custody in Indiana have allege in two separate federal lawsuits that they were sexually threatened or assaulted, including two who say they were raped, last year by men. he was detained at the same facility where, according to one of the lawsuits, bribed a corrections officer $1,000 to get the keys to their cell.

The women are suing Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel, former Clark County jail officer David Lowe and unidentified prison officials in two federal civil rights lawsuits filed with United States Southern District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The lawsuits stem from events that the plaintiffs allege took place at the Clark County Jail in Jeffersonville between the evening of October 23 and the morning of October 24, 2021, attorneys for both lawsuits told CNN.

The first lawsuit, filed June 21 on behalf of the 20 women named, alleges that the men detained at the same facility threatened, assaulted or raped them on multiple occasions. hours after Lowe gave the men the keys to the women’s cell. According to Steve Wagner, an attorney who filed the lawsuit on July 25, the second lawsuit was filed on July 25 on behalf of eight other women who were not named. It described what they called “a night of terror” at the prison and said the two men had obtained the keys in exchange for a $1,000 deposit.

A woman in the first lawsuit alleges that she was raped in the incident and a separate woman in the second lawsuit also alleges she was raped. However, no charges have been brought against these allegations, according to William Perry McCall, an attorney who filed the first lawsuit in June on behalf of 20 women. Attorneys for both lawsuits told CNN that the women did not speak publicly about their claims, citing reasons such as emotional distress and to protect their identities.

Both lawsuits say the women suffered physical, emotional and psychological harm as a result of violating their constitutional rights.

The July 25 lawsuit alleges Noel failed to properly place prison staff, train prison officers, and supervise them to ensure they “maintain adequate security at the prison.” It added that “These systematic failures allowed many male attackers to be able to flee the Prison within hours, resulting in a night of terror for the plaintiffs and other victims.”

Noel declined to comment on the lawsuits, noting that the lawsuit is pending. However, in a statement to CNN, Noel’s attorney, Larry Wilder, said, “The events of October 23 were the result of the unforeseen criminal actions of a rogue correctional officer. The individual in question chose to give up his training, morals and ethics and made the unilateral decision to mortgage his career and future by allowing inmates access to the prison keys. ”

Wilder said the sheriff is “committed to ensuring that nothing of this magnitude or scope ever happens again,” but he is also “committed to exposing the dishonesty that has been alleged by who are trying to profit financially from the crimes of David Lowe. ”

Wilder said prison officials launched an investigation “immediately” upon learning of the events, including reviewing security footage and recording interviews with correctional officers. created, men held at the facility and “more than 40” female prisoners.

As a result of the investigation, Wilder said, the sheriff’s department is making “immediate changes to the physical structure of the prison as well as a review of procedures and practices.”

Lowe was taken into custody October 25 on charges of official misconduct and aiding, soliciting or causing a fugitive, according to court documents. He is currently out of prison and is awaiting a criminal trial in November, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Lowe has yet to enter a plea agreement.

CNN’s attempt to contact Lowe for a statement in response to the allegations was unsuccessful and his attorney could not be identified.

Lowe said in a statement to The Washington Post that he was “forced and assaulted to make false confessions” about taking money from men in exchange for keys to women’s bedrooms.

Lowe claimed in his statement to the Post that he made one last mistake for the men to steal the keys and it was an overwork accident. He also told the newspaper that he only learned of the attack in the days after it happened because he was working in another part of the prison.

Events began to unfold “on the night of October 23 and into the early morning of October 24” when two male inmates used a key, provided by Lowe, to enter each compartment in the facility where the female inmates were located. live. at home, according to the July lawsuit.

The men threatened the women, including threatening to kill them, if they “press the button” to appeal to the officers, according to the first lawsuit, filed in June. They then left the cell and returned with a number of other male inmates, who wore scarves and blankets over their heads and faces, according to the lawsuit.

Over the course of several hours, “at least two of the female prisoners were raped,” the lawsuit said.

In addition, according to the lawsuit, the men “grabbed and groped” the women, exposed their genitals to the women, and made obscene and threatening remarks. “Several hours” during the attack, one of the women pressed the emergency button and began screaming to call the repairmen, at which point the men left the compartment, the lawsuit said.

A repairman who opened the door and turned on the lights advised the women that they lost their “dark” privilege, meaning the lights remained on in the women’s area for 72 hours afterward, the lawsuit said. In addition, the women were locked up for the next several days and taken to a cell for questioning. Days later, the lawsuit alleges, corrections officers removed the women’s personal items such as razors, pillows and blankets.

The July 25 lawsuit filed by different attorneys representing eight unnamed women held at the same prison alleges that Lowe gave the male inmates the keys to the prison’s interior, where they can enter multiple restricted areas, in exchange. 1,000 dollars.

The women suffered “significant emotional and physical harm, including but not limited to nightmares, bleeding, vaginal lacerations and genital herpes,” the lawsuit said.

In a statement to CNN, Wagner said that prison officials retaliated against the women after they were accused of assault. In addition, he said the keys lost in their shells had not yet been found in the days following the incident, leaving the women “always in a state of fear that the male prisoners would return in the next few days.” the following nights.”

“In this environment, in the face of threats from attackers and a lack of sympathy – or the outright protection of prison officials, the women, understandably, initially kept quiet about what happened. They fear for their lives,” said Wagner. He said the women decided to report the incident after being encouraged by family and friends.

Wilder said in his statement that interviews conducted by sheriff’s detectives with women held at the prison as part of the investigation, following Lowe’s arrest, “have resulted in release information that directly contradicts the allegations made in the civil action.”

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