Colorado Prisoner Sues Security Guard Who Sexually Abused Her Moments after Giving Birth
Colorado prisoner sexually assaulted by a private security guard at a hospital only minutes after she gave birth has filed suit against her attacker, the company he worked for and the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office for damages stemming from the 2012 incident.
The prisoner’s attorney, David Lane, said his client chose to use her own name, Angela Weishoff, to file the suit because she wanted the public to know the truth about the horrific act committed against her.
According to the complaint, in September 2012, the then 34-year-old Weishoff began having contractions and was transported from the Arapahoe County Jail to Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, Colorado to give birth. As a money-saving measure, the Sheriff’s Office contracted out the task of guarding Weishoff to C&D Security. Armed private security guard Michael Arnold was assigned to watch her in her hospital room.
Just 15 minutes after Weishoff gave birth, Arnold tried to force her to perform oral sex on him, climbed on top of her, untied her gown and fondled her, according to a police report.
While Weishoff was being sexually assaulted, her newborn daughter was lying next to her in a crib. She told police that she was still in pain from giving birth, numb from an epidural and helpless at the time.
Arnold was charged with and pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a victim in custody, even though he maintained that the sex was “consensual.” Weishoff’s lawsuit, filed in federal court on September 19, 2014, cited the scathing remarks made by Douglas County District Court Judge Vincent White at Arnold’s sentencing hearing:
“Mr. Arnold, when I read this I was horrified. A woman who was pregnant, just had given birth to a baby and was sexually assaulted in a hospital. Sir, I don’t know what you were thinking. I don’t care that your defense is that it was consensual. I think that’s horrific and very hard to believe. And I’ll be honest with you, sir, if I had this open to the Court you’d be going to the Department of Corrections.
“You were in a position of trust as a security guard watching a young lady who had a baby, and you sexually assaulted her. Just had a baby within hours. It’s one of the most horrific fact patterns I’ve seen in the ten years on the bench, in terms of a position of trust. You were supposed to be there to guard her, and you assaulted her.”
Despite the judge’s harsh comments he only sentenced Arnold to probation for 10 years to life, with no jail time. When Arnold walked away without having to serve time, Lane said it was the last straw for his client.
“She is so outraged,” he stated. “She was going off to prison for minor drug possession, while he admits to sexually assaulting her when she’s completely helpless. And he gets probation – all because she’s a prisoner.” He added, “This shows you the respect the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office has when the victim of a crime is a prisoner.”
Weishoff’s lawsuit names Arapahoe County Sheriff David C. Walcher, claiming it was the sheriff’s responsibility to screen and monitor private security guards hired by the county.
“The privatization of incarceration, to me, is an enormous problem,” Lane said. He noted that Weishoff “was in the custody of the Arapahoe County sheriff. She was not in the custody of Joe’s Security Company. And if this sheriff wants to hire Joe’s Security Company, the sheriff should be responsible for any damages that occur.
“I’m quite certain that the sheriff’s department didn’t do any background investigation on this particular guard, and it’s the sheriff’s obligation to protect the prisoners in his custody,” Lane remarked.
According to court documents, Arnold allegedly bragged that he had previously been accused of sexually assaulting another woman at Haven House, which provides transitional housing, and had warned the woman to keep her mouth shut.
Lane defended Weishoff for waiting two years before filing suit. “She got sent to prison,” he explained, “and she was a psychological wreck at that point. She had been suicidal as a result of this. It took her about two years to get the courage up to come forward and file this complaint. But the key here is that he admitted that he did it. This isn’t just some prisoner scamming for money. He pleaded guilty. He did it.”
When questioned by 9NEWS, a Sheriff’s Office representative only said that Arnold was not a department employee and that the sexual assault did not occur at the jail.
But Lane countered, “that’s not an excuse. She was committed by the court to the care and custody of the Arapahoe County sheriff, not to the care and custody of some fly-by-night security company.”
Weishoff’s lawsuit seeks “appropriate declaratory and other injunctive and/or equitable relief,” plus “punitive damages on all claims allowed by law and in an amount to be determined at trial.” See: Weishoff v. Arnold, U.S.D.C. (D. Col.), Case No. 1:14-cv-02608-WYD-CBS.
Additional sources: www.kdvr.com, http://blogs.westword.com, www.9news.com
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Related legal case
Weishoff v. Arnold
|Cite||U.S.D.C. (D. Col.), Case No. 1:14-cv-02608-WYD-CBS|