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$55,000 Settlement in Rape of Missouri Jail Prisoner

The City of Ferguson, Missouri has paid $55,000 to a pretrial detainee who had sex with a guard, who in exchange allowed her to escape.

On October 9, 2013, while driving through Ferguson, a woman identified as “J.W.” was pulled over for an expired license plate. During the stop, J.W. gave the police officer a false name; once that was discovered, she was arrested.

At the Ferguson jail, guard Jaris Hayden softly said “You smell good” as he booked J.W. into the facility. A short time later, J.W.’s boyfriend posted her $200 bond. However, Hayden had told her several times that she had outstanding warrants in other jurisdictions, which would prevent her from bonding out. As they talked, J.W. sensed Hayden, whom she had not previously met, was “acting in a sexually provocative manner toward her.”

J.W. was several months pregnant at the time and did not respond to Hayden’s flirtations. As he was processing J.W., he said, “You’re the type girl that can get me in trouble.” She was crying and responded, “I will do anything to go home.”

The guard then took J.W. to a boiler room and unbuttoned his pants, motioning or telling her to give him oral sex. She complied, and Hayden had her go further into the room where he had intercourse with her. He then released J.W. from a jail side door.

She went to a hospital emergency room. A hair J.W. had “captured” while performing oral sex was confirmed as coming from Hayden, who was subsequently charged with misconduct, having sexual contact with a prisoner and permitting escape. [See: PLN, July 2015, p.63]. He pled guilty to two of the felony charges and was sentenced to four years in prison in December 2016.

Represented by St. Louis attorney W. Bevis Schock, J.W. filed a federal civil rights action. The suit settled for $55,000 in June 2017, and the case was dismissed by stipulation in October. See: J.W. v. City of Ferguson, U.S.D.C. (E.D. Mo.), Case No. 4:14-cv-01928-RLW. 

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Related legal case

J.W. v. City of Ferguson