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Wednesday, June 12, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Mayor Endorsed Prisoner Rape, Woman Claims

SHREVEPORT, La. (CN) - A Louisiana mayor directed a female prisoner to show her genitals, and then told an officer to "have some fun with this one," leading to her rape and contraction of an STD, the woman claims in federal court.

J.G., whose name Courthouse News abbreviated to preserve her privacy, says officials in the town of Springhill have gotten away with raping female prisoners before.

"Previous to October 2011, other officers have, using their office, coerced or otherwise convinced female citizens to engage in sexual encounters," according to the complaint in the Western District of Louisiana. "Town of Springhill officials being aware of the sexual encounters have failed to investigate or discipline officers for violating department policies and state law against such behavior."

J.G. says she was arrested at her home in Cullen, La., on Oct. 14, 2011, on an outstanding warrant from Arkansas for a nonviolent offense.

Instead of being booked in Cullen, however, the arresting officer allegedly brought J.G. to a police department in neighboring Springhill.

J.G. says she was handed over to Cullen Mayor Dexter Turner, who was also an officer with the Springhill Police Department.

"[J.G.] was not booked at the Springhill police department," the complaint states. "Turner commented on [J.G.'s] body and appearance. Turner directed [J.G.] to show her genitals to him. [J.G.] complied out of fear and confusion about what might happen if she refused."

Even though Cullen had a female police officer on duty at the time - the officer who arrested J.G. at her home - Turner had the police dispatcher call reserve police officer Charles Blanks to transport J.G., according to the complaint.

"Blanks was off duty and at home at the time of the call," J.G. says.

"Blanks and Turner were friends," she adds. "Town of Springhill provided Blanks with no training in transporting female prisoners despite the obvious need. Turner was aware of this fact. Blanks was not post certified yet he was armed. Before Blanks arrived at the police station, Turner advised Blanks that 'he could have some fun with this one.'"

Turner allegedly directed J.G. "to expose herself" again when Blanks arrived at his office.

"Blanks then escorted [J.G.] to the police car assigned to Blanks by Turner," the complaint states. "The police car was an older model car and did not have a cage separating the front and back seats. The front seats were bucket and not bench styled."

J.G. says the car was not suitable for transporting prisoners, and that they had to stop for gas to reach the Webster Parish correctional center, known as the Bayou Dorcheat.

"Blanks took the police car to Harkins One Stop gas station to be fueled," the complaint states. "While at Harkins, another Springhill Police officer informed Blanks of at least one step or precaution to take while transporting a female prisoner: call dispatch with his beginning and ending odometer readings."

J.G. says Blanks had her move up to the front seat after they left the gas station. Blanks then made "sexually explicit comments to [J.G.] about her body," and said "he was going to get 'some of that,'" according to the complaint.

"Blanks then exposed his penis, touched it, and pulled plaintiff's head to it," the complaint states. "She was forced to comply with his instruction to perform oral sex, but she did so only momentarily. Blanks then said he was 'going to get some of that' referring to plaintiff's vagina. Blanks required [J.G.] to talk nasty, telling her what to say. Blanks stopped the police car en route to the jail, required [J.G.] to go into a barn where Blanks engaged in sexual intercourse with [J.G.]. [J.G.] wanted to run but was afraid to run. [J.G.] submitted to Blanks' demands under coercion, fear of his authority and due to her past experiences of sexual abuse."

J.G. says Blanks put her in the back seat of the patrol car after the attack and brought her to jail where she was booked, then extradited to Arkansas.

"After she arrived at the jail in Magnolia, Arkansas, [J.G.] underwent a physical examination," the complaint states. "The examining doctor indicated [J.G.] had contracted an STD. She informed the doctor that she was raped by Blanks."

J.G. says she reported how Blanks attacked her, and how Turner was involved.

Blanks was arrested on Nov. 14, 2011, for malfeasance in office, and he pleaded guilty in 2012, according to the complaint.

Though J.G. says Springhill fired Turner for "sexual misconduct," in 2012, she says he "was never disciplined nor investigated by the town of Springhill for conduct associated with [J.G.] and continued to be the mayor of Cullen."

"Based upon information and belief both Turner and Blanks have engaged in sexually oriented activities with female prisoners on more than one occasion before the incident in question," the complaint states. "Will Lynd and other city officials were aware of allegations concerning these other events but chose not to investigate or discipline Turner, Blanks and other officers involved. Town of Springhill officials being aware of the sexual encounters have failed to investigate or discipline the officers for violating department policies and state law against such behavior."

J.G. seeks punitive damages for civil rights violations and for humiliation, mental distress and embarrassment. She is suing Blanks, Turner, the town of Springhill, Lynd and the town of Cullen.

J.G. also wants the defendants to implement a policy designed to eliminate all forms of sex discrimination, and also an order to prevent their retaliation against her for filing the lawsuit.

She is represented by Nelson Cameron.

Follow @SabrinaCanfiel2
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