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$27,500 Settlement for Rape of Four Women Prisoners in Pittsburgh Jail

There have been settlements in four separate lawsuits involving the Allegheny County (Pennsylvania) Jail. The suits alleged that seven Allegheny County Jail guards sexually assaulted four women prisoners.

In May 2006, Allegheny County began settling a series of federal civil rights lawsuits brought under 42 U.S.C. §1983 by Angelene Kerley, 47, Lynn McLaughlin, 41, Laura Jacobson, 38, and Jennifer Crooks, 33, four former jail prisoners, alleging they were sexually assaulted by guards Joseph Addison, Daryl Hill, LeShawn Walker, DePaul Smith, Rise Jones, and Henry Woznichak. The settlement agreements gave Kerley $10,000, McLaughlin $12,500, the heirs of Jacobson $2,500 and the heirs of Crooks $2,500. Jacobson and Crooks died before the suit was settled.

The four women?s allegations resulted in grand jury indictments for institutional sexual assault against 13 male guards in 2004. Seven of the guards were convicted, included two who pleaded guilty, four were acquitted and two have not been tried. The civil rights suits were filed in mid-2005.

The complaints alleged that the prisoners were required to disrobe in front of guards, perform oral sex on guards and have sexual intercourse with guards. In Pennsylvania, it is illegal for guards to have sex with prisoners. Consent is not a defense.

The complaints alleged that the county had a practice of allowing male guards to be alone with female prisoners and that jail officials had knowledge of the frequent sexual assaults against female prisoners, but did nothing to prevent them.

The settlements admitted no wrongdoing on the part of Allegheny County and contained a confidentiality agreement that was recently lifted, under the Pennsylvania ?Right-to-Know? Act. All four prisoners were represented by Pittsburgh attorney Marvin Leibowitz. See: Crooks v. Allegheny County, Civil Action No. 05-0913V (USDC-WD PA); Kerley v. Allegheny County, Civil Action No. 05-0718 (USDC-WD PA); Mclaughlin v. Allegheny County, Civil Action No. 05-1037 (USDC-WD PA); and Jacobson v. Allegheny County, Civil Action No. 05-0717-CV (USDC-WD PA).

Additional Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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Related legal cases

Crooks v. Allegheny County

Kerley v. Allegheny County

Mclaughlin v. Allegheny County

Jacobson v. Allegheny County