(CN) – The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider reinstating a $625,000 judgment against Ohio prison officials who were accused of doing nothing to prevent a guard from sexually assaulting a female inmate, and then putting the inmate in solitary confinement for complaining.
A three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit ruled that a prison official could not be held liable for the sexual assault of the inmate, and that the woman’s constitutional rights were not violated. The juror’s award was then vacated.
The inmate complained that a male guard grabbed her breasts and told her, “I’ll get you tomorrow, watch.” He returned while she was sleeping and molested her.
The female inmate, who is not being identified because she is the victim of a sex crime, was serving a year at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. She said she was shackled and sent to solitary confinement for complaining.
The Cincinnati-based circuit found 2-1 that one prison official could not be held liable even though she didn’t act after the inmate told her about the fondling incident.
The circuit also found that another official didn’t violate the inmate’s rights by putting her in solitary confinement.
Both prison officials tried to get the case dismissed, but a judge refused.