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New Mexico County Settles Sex Assault Claim for $40,000

During the week of June 26, 2000, San Juan County, New Mexico, agreed to
settle for $40,000 a former prisoner's lawsuit that claimed she was
sexually assaulted by two jailers at the county jail.

Plaintiff Sandra Lucero alleged that during her imprisonment at the San
Juan Detention Center from September through October 1996, guard Darrell
Whitaker detained her against her will and forced her to engage in sexual
intercourse on at least two occasions. Lucero further alleged that in June
or July 1998 another guard, Jesse Monclova, also forced her to engage in
sexual intercourse.

Lucero subsequently filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District
of New Mexico claiming the sexual assaults violated her Eighth Amendment
rights. Lucero sought damages for physical injury, pain and suffering,
criminal sexual penetration, false imprisonment, assault and battery, and
severe psychological and emotional distress. The case settled before trial
for $40,000.

Prior to the settlement more than 20 FBI agents and local cops raided the
jail in August 1999 after an FBI investigation revealed evidence of sexual
abuse and drug dealing by guards. Monclova was initially convicted on
January 20, 2000, on sexual misconduct charges, though his conviction was
reversed supposedly because prosecutors had made an undisclosed deal with
one of his accusers. A new trial was set for August 15, 2000. Whitaker,
charged with four counts of sexually assaulting female prisoners,
reportedly accepted a plea bargain of four years in prison. His sentencing
was scheduled for September 12, 2000.

The name of Lucero's attorney was not reported. See: Lucero v. San Juan
County, USDC D NM, Case No. 99cv00955.

Source: The Blue Sheet of New Mexico

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Related legal case

Lucero v. San Juan County

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