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Illinois Prisoner Raped By Guard Settles For $15,000

On July 2, 2005, a prisoner who was raped by a guard settled her lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) for $15,000.
While imprisoned at the Dixon Correctional Center on May 26, 2000, the plaintiff, Rose Marie Smith 51, was raped by an unknown male guard. According to the lawsuit the guard entered Unit 59--an all female cellblock--during the night and ordered the plaintiff to leave her cell. The guard then took her to a shower area, where he beat and raped her.

After the plaintiff reported the rape, IDOC Internal Affairs investigator Regina Marshall attempted to cover up the assault, the lawsuit claimed. Consequently, the guard was not identified, no action was taken to protect the plaintiff, and no changes were made to policies or procedures to protect other female prisoners.

The plaintiff sued the IDOC and several guards and prison officials--including Marshall--under federal and state law in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleged violations of her Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights including unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain and deliberate indifference to her need for protection. The plaintiffs state claims alleged assault and battery, sexual abuse, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and due process violations.

The plaintiffs lawsuit further noted that her attacker was allowed into the housing area without a female guard present, even though numerous female prisoners in the IDOC have been previously raped by male guards.

The defendants agreed to pay the plaintiff $15,000.00 in damages in exchange for dismissal of the lawsuit. The plaintiff was represented by Alan Mills and Margaret Byrne of the Uptown Peoples Law Center in Chicago. See: Smith v. Sternes, USDC ND IL, Case No. 02-C-50178.

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Related legal case

Smith v. Sternes