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$170,000 in Settlements to Sacramento Jail Prisoner Sexually Abused by Guards

California’s Sacramento County has paid $160,000 to settle a claim that a guard raped a prisoner. The settlement is in addition to a $10,000 payment out of personal funds paid by another guard for kissing the prisoner.

The suit claimed that lesbian guard Paula Sue Wood forced prisoner Annette Arellano to have sex with her more than 20 times between August 2006 and April 2007. Wood became so “obsessed” with Arellano that at one point she held up a sign that said, “You fascinate me.”

In her suit, Arellano alleged that another prisoner reported Wood’s involvement with Arellano in January 2007. The subsequent investigation cleared Wood and resulted in disciplinary action against the reporting prisoner.

Wood later resigned and pled no contest to a charge of having sex with a prisoner, which resulted in a sentence of 90 days in a work furlough program and three years probation. Jail officials contend they could not uncover facts to support the allegations of sexual activity because Arellano refused to cooperate with them.

As for settling the lawsuit, “it’s pretty clear why the matter was resolved,” said the County’s attorney, Nancy Sheehan. “Former Deputy Wood was charged with a violation of the penal conduct with an inmate and she pled no contest for that.”

Arellano also sued guard Clement M. Tang, who she labeled “an opportunistic heterosexual.” He kissed her in a holding cell while she was awaiting a court appearance. In addition to paying $10,000 out of his pocket, Tang retired from the Sheriff’s Department.

The April 23, 2009, settlement with the county resulted in dismissal of Arellano’s lawsuit. She was represented by attorney Stewart Kate. See: Arellano v. County of Sacramento, USDC, E.D. California, Case No. 2:08-CV-01509.

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Related legal case

Arellano v. County of Sacramento

Please see the brief bank for documents related to this case.