Woman Claims Arpaio Jail Guard Raped Her

     PHOENIX (CN) – A jail guard raped a woman in one of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jails, then put her in “protective custody” – solitary confinement – for 23 hours a day, the woman claims in court.
     After the sexual assault, the woman claims, the jail guard “changed his name to escape civil and criminal liability and Internal Affairs investigators furthered that fraud.”
     The jail guard, Martin Joseph Rivas , was charged with aggravated assault, a class 6 felony, on June 26. The state accuses him of intentionally putting Victim A “in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury, while she was bound or otherwise physically restrained,” on July 24, 2014.
     Mayra Miranda sued the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Rivas aka Hector Rivas aka Edward Rivas, and Sheriff’s Lt. David Tennyson on July 24 in Maricopa County Court.
     She claims Rivas sexually assaulted her on July 24, 2014 in the Estrella Jail. Arpaio is not named individually as a defendant.
     Miranda says she was called into another inmate’s cell that day and when she arrived the inmate left and Rivas entered, pushing her backward toward the bunk beds while forcing his mouth on her mouth.
     Rivas turned her around, pulled down her pants and underwear and “inserted his penis into the plaintiff’s vagina and pushed back and forth approximately six times,” she says in the complaint. She says Rivas then heard a noise and stopped the assault. The lawsuit refers to this assault as rape.
     She says that was not the first time Rivas sexually assaulted her. She says Rivas subjected her to a number of assaults, including “demanding the plaintiff to ‘flash’ him her breast and vagina, forcibly kissing the plaintiff on the lips, penetrating the plaintiff’s mouth with his tongue, and entering the plaintiff’s room at night and rubbing her legs under her nighttime clothing while she feigned sleep.”
     Miranda says Rivas “changed his name to escape civil and criminal liability and Internal Affairs investigators furthered that fraud.”
     The Sheriff’s Office “deliberately and continuously maintained a policy to conceal the names of detention officers who have been accused of sexual assault by an inmate,” according to the complaint.
     She says Rivas used the name Hector, and defendant Tennyson referred to him as Hector during his Internal Affairs interview with her.
     The state indictment refers to Rivas as Martin Joseph Rivas, Miranda’s civil lawsuit as Martin Mendez Rivas, Hector Rivas and/or Edward Rivas.
     Rivas admitted he assaulted Miranda but denied that the assault was sexual, according to the complaint.
     Miranda says the Sheriff’s Office has not fired him, though court records show he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault under the name Martin Joseph Rivas and awaits sentencing on July 31.
     She claims the Sheriff’s Office put her in “‘protective custody’ against her will,” that she was “caged in her cell 23 hours a day and had no contact with others.”
     She says she did not report the sexual assaults because she feared such retaliation, and would not have reported it had another inmate not informed jail staff of it.
     Miranda was incarcerated at the time on a number of charges , including possession of 4 lbs. of marijuana for sale, armed robbery, and attempted first-degree murder.
     She claims the Sheriff’s Office failed to protect her by installing security cameras “that are unreliable and can be easily blocked or avoided, creating large areas of the prison that are not subject to surveillance,” and by lack of an adequate grievance procedure that would have allowed her to complain about Rivas before she suffered serious harm.
     The Sheriff’s Office declined to comment.
     Miranda seeks punitive damages for negligence, gross negligence, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, conspiracy to violate her civil rights, and constitutional violations.
     Her attorney, Jocquese Blackwell, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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