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BOP Pays $10,000 Sexual Harassment Complaint

The federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) paid $10,000 to settle an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint alleging sexual harassment by an employee at FCI Petersburg in Virginia.

Azala Gray Epps worked as a guard.  Initially, she started at MCC New York in August 1994 before being transferring to FCI Petersburg in May 1998.  A guard named Dunston told her when she entered the facility that she needed to be nice to him because he made the roster and post assignments.

Gray Epps avoided Dunston, and he made comments to her that she needed to speak to him and would delay her entry to and exit from the prison.  In one incident, he told her “at least three times” to “count again, wrong count.”  A Lt. Smith, who Gray Epps informed of her issue with Dunston, was present during that incident, and he cleared the count issue up.

Dunston made comments about her freckles, called her cheap and offered to buy her a car, or even fight her. He told her during lunch that she needed to be slapped.  When she informed the Warden of the matter, she alleged the investigation was bungled.

The September 18, 1998, complaint was settled on May 1, 2001, with BOP paying Gray Epps $7,500 in moving cost to facilitate a hardship transfer to a New York prison and $2,500 in attorney fees.  The payment was to be made despite the outcome of the transfer.  See: Epps v. Reno, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Case No: 120-AO-3631X.

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Related legal case

Epps v. Reno