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Delaware DOC Not Liable for Rape, Impregnation of Prisoner by Guard

The plaintiff alleged that she was raped by a guard, resulting in pregnancy; the officer was confirmed as 96% likely to be the father.

At 420: "... [R]umors and innuendoes of sexual impropriety between inmates and prison guards is [sic] insufficient as a matter of law to establish that the Administrative Defendants were aware of and deliberately disregarded a risk of harm to Plaintiff." In any case defendants vigorously investigated the allegations and disciplined the officer for misconduct in taking prisoners out of their cells after lockdown, absent actual evidence of sexual misconduct, and instituted stricter lockdown procedures, responses which were reasonable. A second incident was not reported to the administration until after the plaintiffs' alleged rape. There was no other evidence showing that the defendants knew the officer posed a threat to the plaintiff.

The plaintiff's claim of inadequate training does not show deliberate indifference. The court notes that organizational standards don't establish constitutional norms, then that defendants meet the American Correctional Association's requirement for training hours, and that they got an Award of Excellence from the International Association of Correctional Training Personnel. Cross-gender supervision training is not required by the ACA and there is no showing it is constitutionally required. The defendant officer did receive training in sexual harassment and in departmental rules, which prohibit staff-inmate sex.

The plaintiff's claim of lack of effective policies and enforcement is rejected. The policies clearly forbid sexual (and any other personal or social) contact between staff and inmates, and sexual conduct is criminalized by state statute. The claim of lack of supervision is refuted by defendants' response to the incident of prisoners removed from cells after lockdown.

The plaintiff's claim of deliberate indifference to her mental health needs is rejected because the defendants provided psychiatric care and medications; a plaintiff's expert opinion that these were inadequate does not create a material issue of fact, just a difference of opinion over medical treatment. In addition, mental health care was provided by a private contractor and not by the administrative defendants.

The court rejects a "wrongful life" claim on behalf of the plaintiff's child under state law and holds that any damages to her from birth of the child are speculative. See: Daniels v. State of Delaware, 120 F.Supp.2d 411 (D.Del. 2000).

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Related legal case

Daniels v. State of Delaware