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Jury Awards North Carolina Prisoner $15,000 for Staff Sexual Assault

A federal jury awarded $15,000 to a North Carolina prisoner who claimed a prison employee sexually abused him and “seduced” him to sell drugs and other contraband.

Prisoner Timothy R. King’s civil rights complaint alleged that between September 2010 and July 2011, he and prison behavioral health specialist Chariesse Boyd had sex dozens of times at the Maury Correctional Institution. Their relationship began after King enrolled in parenting and conflict-resolution classes in April 2010. The pair would spend time alone before and after class.

It was then that “Boyd manage[d] to persuade and seduce King to help Boyd make money,” he stated in his lawsuit. “She said she owed the IRS and would help King with his daughter if he helped sell and distribute” drugs, tobacco, cellphones, SIM cards, prescription pills, alcohol and other contraband.

The money was sent to Boyd through money-transfer services or her associates; King said the contraband scheme generated at least $20,000 over a 16-month period. When he said he would no longer traffic in contraband, Boyd allegedly obtained a new prisoner lover who put a “hit” out on King. Consequently, he was attacked and then filed Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) complaints against Boyd.

That landed King in segregation, and he was transferred to the Central Prison in Raleigh. He continued to file PREA complaints, but said no action was taken. Once he exhausted his administrative remedies, King filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint, citing violations of his Eighth Amendment rights.

The federal district court dismissed his claims against all prison officials except Boyd. North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services was appointed to represent King, and the organization represented him during a deposition and at an unsuccessful mediation session.

King went to trial pro se. The jury’s September 20, 2017 verdict found his right “to be free from cruel and unusual punishment” had been violated due to Boyd engaging in sexual acts with him. Due to the power imbalance in correctional settings, prisoners cannot legally consent to sexual contact, and sex between prisoners and staff has been criminalized in all 50 states.

The jury awarded King $5,000 in compensatory damages plus $10,000 in punitive damages. See: King v. Boyd, U.S.D.C. (E.D. NC), Case No. 5:13-ct-03290-BO.

Boyd, still employed at the Maury Correctional Institution, had no comment on the verdict; she has maintained that she did not have sex with King and was not involved in smuggling contraband. While she was disciplined in 2013 for having an inappropriate relationship with King, she was not charged with a crime. 

Additional source: Charlotte Observer

 

Related legal case

King v. Boyd