HOUSTON (CN) – A former prison guard claims the Texas Department of Criminal Justice fired him on false accusations that he had raped and impregnated an inmate. Marshall Akpanokop says the bogus accusations were made “solely because he was a dark-skinned, Nigerian national with an accent,” and that less than a month after he was fired, DNA evidence showed that an inmate was the father.
In his federal complaint, Akpanokop, who also refers to himself as Okop, says “that on August 13, 2009 he was arrested while in the dormitory quarters of TDCJ in Huntsville” after the bogus rape allegation.
“A warrant was issued for his arrest and his DNA based on allegations sent to the Walker County District Attorney’s Office by TDCJ,” the complaint states. “On August 14, 2009 Okop was suspended from employment by TDCJ and put on leave without pay status.”
Akpanokop says that because of his race and national origin the state did not “exercise due diligence” when investigating the female inmate’s allegations against him, and on March 17, 2010 the state fired him.
However, “A letter dated April 13, 2010 from the University of North Texas exonerated Okop of the charges filed against him by TDCJ after it was discovered that Okop was not the father of the child,” the complaint states.
Akpanokop filed a discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and received a “right to sue letter” on Nov. 1, 2010.
He seeks lost wages and damages for discrimination, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent hiring and retaliation.
He is represented by Allie Booker.