Ex-Inmate Claims Guards Raped, Impregnated Her at Illinois Prison Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A former inmate who became pregnant at an Illinois prison alleges a group of guards repeatedly raped her while she was serving seven months for writing a bad check, The Chicago Tribune reported on Tuesday.

The unidentified woman, a former beauty pageant winner, filed the lawsuit on Monday against several members of the staff at the Dwight Correctional Center, according to the Tribune.

“You don’t know if they’re going to kill you,” the woman told the paper. “I did not know what was going on with my own body.”

The ex-prisoner said she was not allowed to do work detail or walk short distances because of her obstructive pulmonary lung disease, which enables her to use only 30 percent of her lung capacity.

During the alleged sexual assaults, the Tribune reported, she was ushered into the staff bathroom, along with her oxygen generator, where she claims she was raped.

She alleges she was raped at least 29 times while serving time, during which the only men she had contact with were corrections officers, according to the newspaper.

When she was released in June 2006 she already was 14 weeks pregnant.

She was expected to testify against her attackers this week.

chicagotribune. com www.chicagotribune. com/news/ local/chi- prison-rape- 04mar04,1, 5044117.story F

ormer inmate accuses guards of raping her

By Kristen Kridel Tribune reporter March 4, 2008

Only able to use 30 percent of her lung capacity, Jane Doe said she wasn’t allowed to do work details or walk short distances when imprisoned at Dwight Correctional Center.

But that didn’t stop a group of prison guards from targeting her, said the woman whose attorney filed a lawsuit Monday against several members of the prison staff.

More than two dozen times during her seven-month stay, guards forced the former beauty pageant winner, oxygen generator in tow, into their private bathroom, where they raped her, she said.

“You don’t know if they’re going to kill you,” said the former inmate, who is not being identified because of the nature of the offense. “I did not know what was going on with my own body.”

By the time she was released from the prison in June 2006, she was 14 weeks’ pregnant, according to the complaint. The only men she had contact with during her sentence were corrections staff, said her attorney, Kathleen Zellner.

In Illinois, it is a felony for the prison staff to have sexual contact with inmates, Zellner said.

“You have a child,” Zellner said. “That’s all you need to know.”

The filing of the lawsuit comes weeks after a Michigan jury sided with 10 women who accused male prison guards of raping them at Scott Correctional Facility in Plymouth. The jury award in that case could be $30 million with interest.

Tears ran down Jane Doe’s face as she sat in her attorney’s office Monday and said she knew of about 10 other inmates at Dwight who were assaulted as she said she was.

Convicted of signing at least one bad check in Cook County, Jane Doe, who suffers from obstructive pulmonary lung disease, was sent to the facility in November 2005, her attorney said.

Several weeks after she arrived, the abuse began, she said. Guards would open her cell in the middle of the night and force her to their bathroom. Several guards were almost always present, and one acted as a “look-out,” coughing or giving some other signal if someone was coming, she said.

The first time she was raped by three men, she said. During the next few months, she would be sexually assaulted 29 times by seven officers, she said.

During each attack, the woman was held from behind in a chokehold, according to the complaint.

“You can’t fight them because they grip you from behind the neck,” she said as she pressed fingers to a spot behind her ear.

Jane Doe filed more than 20 reports with the prison’s internal affairs unit and sent three emergency grievances to the warden but she never received a response, she said.

An administrator threatened Jane Doe that she would have at least an extra year added to her sentence if she was having sex with an inmate, she said. Then she was placed in segregation, where the assaults continued. When she was finally released, she had permanent injuries, she said.

She gave birth to a baby boy conceived during her prison stay in January 2007. She is raising him with her husband. Police recently took a DNA sample from the child, and Jane Doe is expected to identify her attackers in a lineup this week, Zellner said.


kkridel@tribune. com Copyright © 2008, Chicago Tribune