Two former inmates are seeking more than $10 million from the Oregon Department of Corrections and several of its employees for not protecting them against a sexual predator employee who they claim targeted and sexually abused them, according to a Statesman Journal report.
The lawsuits were filed in federal court by two women, each of whom are serving lengthy sentences for unrelated murders. The prisoners came forward after corrections officer Richard Alberts II was arrested for allegedly bringing meth and heroin into the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility women’s prison in Wilsonville. He faces trial in September.
The two prisoners say that Alberts’ wrongdoings didn’t stop with trafficking drugs. They claim that he also sexually assaulted them on several occasions, and one of the lawsuits claimed there were several occasions when Albert and several corrections officers sexually abused inmates.
One of the women claims she was lured into a sexual relationship with former corrections officer Edgar Mickles, who was convicted in 2017 of sexual misconduct. She claims he would call her racial slurs and threatened her with physical violence if she didn’t stand lookout while he sexually abused another inmate. In time, he began to sexually abuse her as well. She claims that abuse she endured drove her into a deep depression and, as a result, she attempted suicide several times.
Federal law prohibits officers from having sex with inmates. Coffee Creek prison in particular enacted a “zero-tolerance policy” against sexual abuse in recent years. Yet, several Oregon Department of Corrections officers have been convicted of sexual abuse, sexual intercourse, and assault of inmates. And despite promises to clean up their act, reports of groping, sex, and other forms of abuse continue.
The lawsuits also name several prison staff and corrections officers, and state prison officials including Corrections Director Colette Peters, Coffee Creek Correctional Facility Superintendent Paula Myers, and Prison Rape Elimination Act coordinator Ericka Sage. Some of the Coffee Creek personnel and officers have been fired or placed on administrative leave.
Sexual Abuse litigation
Sexual assault, sexual abuse, rape and sex trafficking are catastrophic acts that wound those who are victimized for a lifetime. This conduct is so atrocious that Survivors not only have to overcome physical injuries, they are also left to suffer from substantial psychological and emotional injuries. Survivors often need to seek therapy to overcome the traumatic experience associated with sexual abuse and routinely incur lost wages or loss support associated with their terrible ordeal. The perpetrators of this type of conduct can be arrested and prosecuted with criminal charges, however, criminal proceedings do not award financial damages to victims. Fortunately, in many instances, Survivors may also be able to file civil claims to recover significant financial compensation as damages. If you have been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse, rape, or sex trafficking, we can help. Contact our lawyers, Lance Gould or Larry Golston, for a free consultation.