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Federal Prisoner Sues For $1 Million After Being Raped By Guard

Kentucky federal prisoner Katherine West Wegner (plaintiff) brought a federal tort action for $1 million in 1995 after being raped by a Bureau of Prisons (BOP) guard. The guard had prior known incidents of such behavior that went unpunished.

The plaintiff was housed at the Federal Medical Center (FMC Lexington) in 1992 when guard Eddie Smith began sexually harassing her and glaring into her cell. He ultimately raped her in 1993. Smith previous rapes of other prisoners went unpunished although Warden Margaret Hambrick was notified of the prior incidents. The plaintiff's administrative claims failed and the suit was brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act against the United States, Hambrick and other federal officials, claiming that they had a duty to protect her and other prisoners from Smith’s sexual assaults. She claimed that if Smith had been punished for his prior actions, she might not have been subjected to his assault and harassment. She further alleged that Hambrick and the other BOP officials’ failure to supervise Smith was the proximate cause of the rape.

The suit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The case was unresolved at the time of this report. See: West Wegner v. United States, USDC, E.D. Ky., Case No. 94 440 (Oct. 30, 1995).

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Related legal case

West Wegner v. United States

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