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Lawsuit: Teen prisoner raped by inmate, infected with HIV

4 years 11 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, January 30 2018 Jan 30, 2018 January 30, 2018 12:34 PM January 30, 2018 in News
Source: Associated Press
BATON ROUGE (AP) - A federal lawsuit claims a Louisiana sheriff's staff left a 17-year-old prisoner vulnerable to his brutal rape by another jail inmate, who infected the teenager with HIV.
The suit, filed Monday, accuses East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux and two deputies of violating the teen's constitutional rights.
The suit says the teen met the criteria for a "high risk sexual victim" under the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act and should have remained segregated from the jail's general population.
Instead, the suit claims, the teen was transferred from the juvenile wing and attacked last February by a man awaiting trial on charges he raped a woman in 2015.
A sheriff's office spokeswoman released the following statement Tuesday:

In reference to the claims made in a lawsuit of the man raped at parish prison I can tell you the following upon our legal counsel’s review of the records and after meeting with the warden and city-parish medical staff:

1. Claim that was raped while 17: The inmate was booked on July 9, 2016 for Burglary and Theft of a Firearm when he was 17 years old. Seventeen-year-olds are placed on a special line until they turn 18 years old. The inmate remained on that line until he turned 18 on February 17, 2017. At that time he was placed into general population. While on a General population line he reported that he had a fight with another inmate concerning some dealings the other inmate allegedly had with a mother of one of his children. At that time he refused to go back into that particular line due to the dispute with that inmate. He was then placed onto a different line around midnight on May 18, 2017 where the rape allegedly occurred. On May 18, 2017, Sometime during the afternoon he was offered to move to a different line, and he refused. According to our detectives’ investigation and all evidence collected the alleged rape occurred on May 20, 2017 (when the inmate was 18). He did not report it to anyone at the prison, but prison staff intercepted a note being passed to another inmate the next day on May 21, 2017. At that time he was taken to medical for treatment. Treatment for any incident in which an inmate is potentially exposed to the HIV virus whether or not we know the other inmate is HIV positive at the prison includes anti-HIV medications. This treatment is provided whether or not the perpetrator or victim reportedly have HIV. Legally, we cannot provide you with information if an inmate has or has not tested positive for HIV.

2. Claim that said inmate should have been classified as high-risk sexual victim: Upon booking at parish prison both the sheriff and medical (an arm of city-parish, not staffed by EBR Sheriff’s Office) assesses each inmate to determine proper placement upon that assessment. Medical has told our staff they have no record of this inmate having any reported or having observed problems in terms of mental capacity. Also, under PREA, for an inmate to be classified as a high-risk sexual victim they must either be less than 5’6” tall or weigh less than 140 lbs. According to medical records, the inmate was 5’10 and 150 lbs upon booking.

3. Claim that inmates are tested for HIV upon intake: According to medical (city-parish) inmates are not HIV tested upon intake. Medical asks, but the inmate would have to self-report. An inmate does not have to take an HIV test if they do not want to. However, the jail does regularly randomly test inmates that will voluntarily agree to be tested. Just to give you some insight, According to the Correct Health Director of Nursing, there were 224 total inmates for the year 2017 that received HIV treatment. We cannot logistically segregate them nor can they be housed out of parish, because medical (city/parish) is responsible for providing them with their approximately $1,500/month treatment. I’m also attaching a court ruling that may give some insight as to why there may also be discrimination issues with segregating an inmate based on this diagnosis.

Unfortunately, those that file lawsuits against the Sheriff’s Office can make claims that have no merit and must be disputed in court. In addition, when such inmates make claims in reference to their medical status, due to legal restrictions, the Sheriff’s Office cannot publicly refute these claims even when they have no merit.

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