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Juvenile Abused at D.C. Jail Settles for $31,000 Plus Attorney Fees

On December 19, 2002, a juvenile abused while on a field trip at a District of Columbia jail settled her federal 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuit for $31,000. In addition, attorney fees were awarded by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Civil Division, in the amount of $100,000.

This action was brought following the gross mistreatment of 12 juvenile females, all ages 13 to 14, while on a school outing to an area jail on May 18, 2001, where they were to speak to female prisoners. Upon arrival, the children were forced to walk through metal detectors. A guard then accosted one of the students and told her that they must “check her in a special way.” The girl was forced to lift her bra and expose her breasts, pull down her pants, squat, and cough. Following this she was pat-searched twice more.

Next, because the female prisoners were eating and therefore unavailable, the girls were escorted to a section of the jail that housed male prisoners, locked in a holding cell, and left unsupervised. The girls found themselves amid adult male prisoners, who surrounded them in their respective cells. According to the complaint, “while the subject children were imprisoned, the inmates hurled obscenities and unzipped their jumpsuits. The subject children witnessed the male inmates masturbating. As a result, many of the subject children began screaming and crying.”

On December 19, 2002, one of the 12 students settled for $31,000. The attorneys for the students were awarded fees in the amount of $100,000 on June 16, 2003. It is unclear whether the remaining defendants also settled or proceeded to trial.

See: Pratt v. The District of Columbia, USDC DC, Case No. 1:01CV01525 (2002).

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Pratt v. The District of Columbia

Pratt v. The District of Columbia