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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Sexual Abuses Reported in Private Prison

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (CN) - A Corrections Corporation of America prison guard sexually abused an inmate for 7 months, the woman claims in Federal Court. The governor of Kentucky has ordered 400 inmates of the Otter Creek prison moved after repeated reports of sexual predations there by CCA guards.

Nashville-based CCA is the largest private prison company in the United States.

The plaintiff says the CCA's recreation coordinator, Delmas Johnson, forced her to engage in "non-consensual sexual acts with him" from March through October 2007. She says Johnson threatened to block her parole if she reported the sexual abuse, and says his predations were "facilitated by the failure of CCA" to screen, train and supervise him.

The Otter Creek prison is on a hilltop in Wheelwright, Ky. The woman also sued its warden, Jeff Little, and the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

Gov. Steve Beshear announced in January that more than 400 women will be moved from Otter Creek due to widespread allegations of sexually abusive prison guards. The women will be sent to the state-run Western Kentucky Correctional Complex and other prisons.

Prison officials from Hawaii ordered 165 of their inmates removed from Otter Creek last year, after receiving complaints that the women had been sexually assaulted by male CCA guards, according to CBS News.

A CCA spokesman told CBS that the sexual assaults were the result of "a few bad apples." But last year the Kentucky Department of Corrections issued a report criticizing CCA for its handling of 18 allegations of sexual misconduct by prison guards there.

Corrections Corporation America has been sued at least 190 times in the past 3 years, often on similar allegations, according to the Courthouse News database.

The plaintiff in the most recent case seeks punitive damages for unconstitutional search and seizure, cruel and unusual punishment and civil rights violations.

She is represented by William Butler Jr. of Louisville.

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