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8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirms dismissal of Nebraska prisoner’s jail rape claim

Rhonda L. Marsh, who was a prisoner in Nebraska’s Phelps County jail from June 22 to 27, 2012, alleged that during that time then-jailer Corporal Louis Campana raped her.

She sued Campana in his official and individual capacities, along with Phelps County, the sheriff and a supervising lieutenant.

After discovery, the district court granted summary judgment to all defendants in their official capacities but allowed Marsh’s complaint against Campana in his individual capacity to proceed. Marsh appealed.

The appeals court found there was no actual notice of any pattern of Campana’s misconduct around the female prisoners, but he was promptly suspended and investigated when his misdeeds did become apparent.

The investigation was turned over to the state police and culminated in Campana’s prosecution and two-year prison sentence for felony criminal sexual conduct with five female prisoners.

The court refused to hold Sheriff Samuelson, Lieutenant Gregg and the county liable for Campana’s actions and held they had qualified immunity. Marsh was allowed to continue pursuing her rape claim against Campana in his individual capacity.

See: Marsh v. Phelps County, et al., Case No. 17-1260 (8th Cir. 2018). Additional sources:,

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Related legal case

Marsh v. Phelps County, et al.