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Maine: Female Detainee Raped by Jailer Wins Lawsuit

by Ed Lyon

On October 2, 2016, Amanda Bridges was housed in an administrative segregation cell at Maine’s York County jail, serving a six-month sentence for violating her probation.

Jailer Jonathan Carpenter entered her cell and began to kiss her until he heard someone in the hallway, so he left. He returned a half-hour later and raped Bridges.

He threatened her not to tell anyone, leaving her traumatized and terrified. There was no video surveillance cameras covering Bridges’ cell.

Four days later, she unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide by hanging herself. When questioned by jail officials about Carpenter, the still-frightened Bridges refused to tell them what happened. Only later, when she was transferred to the Cumberland County jail, did she feel safe enough to report the sexual assault. An investigation swiftly resulted in Carpenter’s termination from the sheriff’s department.

On April 10, 2018, Carpenter entered a guilty plea to felony class B sexual assault. He received a five-year sentence, with four years suspended, to be followed by a three-year term of probation. He will also have to register as a sex offender.

Attorney Heather Gonzales of Portland, Maine filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on Bridges’ behalf. A pendant state claim for intentional infliction of emotional stress-driven post-traumatic stress disorder was incorporated to include Bridges’ inability to sleep or leave her residence, flashbacks, anxiety, depression and her prior suicide attempt.

Gonzales also filed a state claim notice with the chair of the York County Commissioners, Sheriff William L. King, Jr., the jail administrator, one John Doe defendant and Carpenter.

A $30,000 settlement, which will be paid by the county’s insurer, was agreed to by the parties in December 2018. Bridges has since moved to another state. See: Bridges v. County of York, Maine, U.S.D.C. (D. ME), Case No. 2:18-cv-00403-JAW. 


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Related legal case

Bridges v. County of York, Maine