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North Carolina DOC Pays $750,000 for Sex Between Guard and Female Prisoner

North Carolina DOC Pays $750,000 for Sex Between Guard and Female Prisoner

A North Carolina Department of Corrections (NCDOC) female prisoner won a jury award of $750,000 for three acts of sexual intercourse perpetrated by a male prison guard.

Former prisoner Tawanda Johnson, 25, reported the three incidents to NCDOC authorities because she feared she might have contracted a sexually transmitted disease. Although she tested negative, the report led to the guard being charged with and pleading guilty to three counts of felonious sexual activity under G.S. § 145-27.7 (Custodial Sexual Misconduct). Under the statute, consent is not a defense.

Johnson claimed bruising of her upper thigh and vaginal soreness from the rough sex. The guard denied liability on grounds that he was not acting within the scope of his employment at the time. However, this lame defense flew in the face of the statute, which criminalizes sexual intercourse if it involves a person having custody of a victim when the custodial person is an agent or employee of an institution.

Johnson, who was represented by Goldsboro attorney Gene Riddle and Durham attorney Thomas Loflin III, rejected the NCDOC’s $50,000 settlement offer. A superior court jury returned verdicts of $250,000 for each of the three admitted sex acts. The state has since appealed. See: Johnson v. North Carolina DOC, Raleigh Superior Court, Case No. TA-18461.

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Related legal case

Johnson v. North Carolina DOC