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Guard Says Jail Neglect Led to Sexual Assault

(CN) - Miami-Dade County's Correction Department failed to protect a female corrections officer from a horrific sexual assault and battery by as many as 17 inmates, the victim alleges in a lawsuit.

The officer, identified in court papers simply as "Jane Doe," sued the county's correction and rehabilitation department, claiming the negligence of a co-worker who violated the jail's "double-door" security policy, was the proximate cause of the attack she endured.

Doe says on the night of December 30, 2013, she was working the overnight shift as a "floater," meaning she was not assigned to work on any particular floor.

As part of her duties during the night, Doe says she had to conduct a head count on the maximum security floor of the jail, a section that which the most violent criminals, including rapists and murders.

While conducting the head count, Doe says she provided the inmates with razors in accord with jail protocol, to facilitate inmate grooming practices.

She says due to inmate violation of head count procedures, she sent the inmates back to their cells prior to completing the razor distribution. Several of the inmates "were shouting and angry at Jane Doe on account of being returned to their cell before having an opportunity to shave."

Shortly before dawn, Doe says she was on her way to another wing of the jail when she came upon an inmate attacking two of her fellow officers. At the time, the door to the cell, which housed several inmates was open, as was an exterior door, a violation of policy.

Doe says she attempted to break up the fight, and wound up being punched in the face and chest.

"As Jane Doe attempted to recover ... she was attacked from behind by multiple inmate from cell PT6B4 who had gained entrance into B-wing corridor through a door that had been improperly left open ..."

"The inmates sexually assaulted and battered Jane Doe, and repeatedly touched her vaginal area, her breasts and her buttocks," the complaint states. The assault continued as an inmate yelled "rape that bitch."

Doe says he feared for her life and thought she was going to be "gang raped" by the inmates.

Finally, she says, after several minutes, she was rescued from the sexual battery by coworkers.

Miami-Dade County reported the incident to the Miami-Dade Police Department on March 15, 2014, about 73 days after it occurred. According to the complaint, the Corrections Center did not informed the assault to the authorities before "to avoid negative publicity and escape civil liability because there had been a series of similar breaches of policy in Miami-Dade County facilities."

Jane Doe returned to work at the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department on October 13, 2014 for employment in the Training and Treatment Center. In spite of the medical order to work in an area where she would have no contact with inmates, she was placed at a position only a few feet away from them.

Upon her return to the facilities Doe suffered a panic attack due to her traumatic post-stress disorder.

Doe seeks unspecified damages on claims of negligence, negligent training and supervision, and negligent placement of an employee.

She is represented by Adam Horowitz of Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman of Fort Lauderdale.

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