Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

$135,000 Paid in New York Jail Sexual Harassment Settlement

A New York City Department of Corrections guard reached a settlement of $135,000 in her federal civil rights suit alleging sexual harassment. Guard Virginia Jones began a consensual sexual relationship with Captain Michael Baxter in March 1998. Jones contended that in September 1998, she ended the relationship with Baxter and made it clear that she no longer wanted to see him on a social basis. Baxter advised co-workers that the relationship was continuing, and he threatened Jones with disciplinary action if she did not continue the relationship.

Jones refused to continue the relationship. Baxter continued to pursue Jones by asking her out for dates, sent her gifts, and made comments such as "[y]ou don't know how to be a Captain's girlfriend." Baxter changed Jones' posts so she had to work in the control room with him. On March 7, 2000, while working in the control room, Baxter asked another guard to leave so he could be alone with Jones.

Baxter then held Jones against her will, kissed her, and fondled her without consent. Baxter also threatened her, spit at her, physically and emotionally abused her, cursed her and made threatening statements to her. Ultimately, Jones was able to grab a radio and broadcast the assault throughout the Rikers Island prison. Baxter again threatened Jones, tried to hit her, and grab the radio. When other jail personnel responded to the transmission, the control room door was opened and Jones was released.

The Correction Assistance Response for Employees and the Department's Equal Employment Opportunity Office both told Jones they could do nothing for her. Ultimately, Jones and Baxter were transferred to other facilities. Baxter was found not guilty at a bench trial on criminal charges brought by Jones. Before Department of Corrections disciplinary proceedings against Baxter were adjudicated, he resigned. The Department's investigation found other women had complained of harassment by Baxter concerning relationships outside work.

Since Baxter was a supervisor, the Department was vicariously liable. Jones took sick leave from January 17, 2000 to March 5, 2001, to be treated for severe emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder, and secondary major depressive disorder. The City of New York settled for $125,000 and Baxter settled for $10,000. Jones was represented by Phillip Taubman, of Taubman & Kimelman of New York, NY. See: Jones v. City of New York et al., U.S.D.C. SDNY, Case No. OI-Civ-4647.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Jones v. City of New York