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Inmates at California girls’s jail sue federal authorities over sexual abuse

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Eight inmates at a San Francisco Bay Space lockup — dubbed the “rape membership” by prisoners and employees alike — filed a lawsuit Wednesday in opposition to the federal Bureau of Prisons, saying sexual abuse and exploitation has not stopped regardless of the prosecution of the previous warden and a number of other former officers.

The lawsuit filed in Oakland by attorneys representing the inmates and the advocacy group California Coalition for Ladies Prisoners additionally names the present warden and 12 former and present guards. It alleges the Bureau of Prisons and workers on the Dublin facility didn’t do sufficient to stop sexual abuse going again to the Nineties.

An Related Press investigation final 12 months discovered a tradition of abuse and cover-ups that had endured for years on the jail, about 21 miles (34 kilometers) east of Oakland. That reporting led to elevated scrutiny from Congress and pledges from the federal Bureau of Prisons that it could repair issues and alter the tradition on the jail.

The Bureau of Prisons has failed to handle rampant misconduct in its ranks and defend the protection of these in its care, stated Amaris Montes, an lawyer at Rights Behind Bars representing the plaintiffs.

“Particular person prisoners have needed to endure rape, groping, voyeurism, pressured stripping, sexually express feedback on an on a regular basis foundation and a lot extra,” she stated.

The lawsuit seeks a 3rd celebration to supervise the jail to make sure inmates have entry to a confidential place to report abuse. It additionally asks that each one victims be given entry to medical and psychological well being care and authorized counsel.

The plaintiffs, that are asking the court docket to certify the case as a category motion, additionally need compassionate launch for victims and for individuals who reside within the nation illegally to be issued a “U visa,” a particular visa program for victims of crime.

Bureau of Prisons spokesperson Donald Murphy stated that the bureau doesn’t touch upon pending litigation or ongoing investigations.

In March, a decide sentenced former warden Ray J. Garcia to 70 months in jail for sexually abusing three feminine inmates and forcing them to pose bare for pictures of their cells. Garcia was amongst eight jail employees, together with a chaplain, charged with abusing inmates and the primary to go to trial.

Montes stated a sexual abuse tradition persists on the low-security facility and inmates who report violations proceed to face retaliation, together with being put in solitary confinement and having all their belongings confiscated.

“We went to go to the jail yesterday and we heard further tales of latest sexual abuse inside this final week,” Montes stated. “The BOP has tried to handle particular person officers and is making an attempt to make it look like it is a difficulty of dangerous actors or dangerous apples, however it’s actually a systemic concern.”

A former inmate on the federal facility stated she was sexually abused by an officer who manipulated her with guarantees that he might get her compassionate launch. The Related Press doesn’t establish individuals who say they’ve been sexually abused except they comply with be named.

She stated she additionally witnessed the sexual abuse of fellow inmates and the retaliation in opposition to those that reported the officers’ misconduct.

She stated she was incarcerated on the jail from 2019-2022 on a drug trafficking conviction. She stated she was put in solitary confinement and misplaced all her belongings after her cellmate reported being abused.

“They have been supposed to guard us as a result of we have been of their custody, however personally, I used to be abused and I noticed officers abuse girls, particularly those that had been there longer. I noticed them harassing them, grabbing, groping them,” she stated in Spanish, her voice breaking.

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