Gavel on Law Book

Adult Survivors Act Provides Path to Justice for Victims Sexually Abused in Women’s Prisons

Women who were sexually abused while incarcerated at New York State prisons may now have meaningful options to seek justice and compensation for their losses – including civil lawsuits filed under the Adult Survivors Act.

Signed into law on May 24, 2022, the New York Adult Survivors Act opens new legal pathways through which victims of sexual assault and abuse can litigate their claims and seek a financial recovery of their damages – even if their abuse occurred years or decades ago.

Our attorneys at Levy Konigsberg are known nationally for litigating high-stakes sexual abuse claims against large and powerful institutions, and currently represent many women who were abused while incarcerated at correctional facilities across the state. If you or someone you love have questions about pursuing a claim, we want to help.

Call (800) 315-3806 or contact us online for a FREE and confidential consultation.

A Dark Legacy: Sexual Abuse in New York Women’s Prisons

Over the course of decades, nearly all New York prisons housing female inmates have been implicated in allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct.

This includes numerous criminal cases brought against correctional officers who sexually assaulted and abused inmates under their charge, as well as countless claims against Department of Corrections leadership that failed to stop the abuse or worked to willfully conceal and cover it up.

Below are just a few notable cases involving female inmate sexual abuse in NY prisons.

Federal Lawsuit Alleges Abuse, Cover-Ups at Four NY State Prisons

A federal lawsuit filed in 2020 accused officers from four New York State prisons of sexually assaulting female inmates and engaging in a system of intimidation and concealment to cover up their crimes. The lawsuit also accused DOC investigators of blaming victims and discrediting those who spoke out.

The lawsuit outlined several cases of sexual assault and ongoing abuse committed by correctional officers at four NY State prisons between the years of 2015 and 2019. The prisons were:

Levy Konigsberg is currently investigating allegations of sexual abuse at these and other NY State women’s’ prisons. If you have information or a potential case, please contact us for a confidential, free consultation.

Bayview Correctional Facility

The now-defunct Bayview Correctional Facility was a medium-security women’s prison in Manhattan that closed in 2012. During its time in operation, numerous investigations and legal filings have confirmed that the facility experienced a systemic problem with sexual abuse and misconduct.

  • In a 2011 federal survey, female inmates housed at Bayview reported sexual abuse and misconduct at a rate more than 5x the national average.
  • In 2015, a former Bayview inmate was awarded $360,000 following claims that she had sexual contact and non-consensual sex with a prison guard who impregnated her while she was incarcerated in 2001. The guard pleaded guilty to 3rd degree rape in a separate criminal case.
  • In 2014, the DOC was found guilty of negligent supervision after it failed to protect inmates, including one who was raped and impregnated during her incarceration between 2008 and 2012, from an officer who had received multiple complaints and was known to have a “propensity to engage in criminal sexual acts.” The officer pleaded guilty to multiple counts of rape in a separate criminal case.

Read more about Bayview sexual abuse lawsuits.

You may have a claim if you experienced staff-on-inmate abuse at any jail or prison in New York, and even if guards or other staff claim that sexual contact was consensual. Per state law (N.Y. Penal Law § 130.05), inmates cannot legally consent to sexual acts with correctional officers, volunteers, or contracted employees who provides inmate services – which means any sexual contact between staff and inmates is unlawful.

Taconic and Bedford Hills Correctional Facilities

Taconic Correctional Facility is a medium/minimum security women’s prison located across the street from the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a maximum-security women’s prison, in the town of Bedford, New York.

Like other New York State women’s prisons, Taconic and Bedford Hills have a history of staff-on-inmate abuse documented in complaints, DOCCS records, and criminal and civil legal filings that date back decades. Some of these include:

  • In 2019, former Taconic correctional officer Iran Colon was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to third-degree criminal sex act and another felony stemming from misconduct with a female inmate between May and September 2017.
  • In 2018, Garth Trail, a former head cook at Taconic, pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree criminal sexual act connected to an incident with an inmate in September 2017.
  • In 2017, Jeffrey Green, a former correction officer at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, pleaded guilty to one federal charge of violating the constitutional rights of an inmate by forcibly sexually assaulting her in March 2016. In a separate civil suit, Green was ordered to pay his victim $550,000 in damages.
  • In 2014, Richard Rodriguez, a former guard at Bedford Hills pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree rape after engaging in sexual intercourse with an inmate in December 2013.
  • In 2012, a jury found former Taconic guard Frederick Brenyah guilty on multiple counts, including third-degree criminal sex act, third-degree attempted rape, and official misconduct, for engaging in sexual acts with an inmate in September 2010.
  • In 2001, the state agreed to a $225,000 settlement with a former inmate after a New York Court of Claims found the DOCCS 100% liable for repeated forcible rape by an officer at Bedford Hills.
  • In 1998, Bedford Hills correction officer Thomas Haynes pleaded guilty to third-degree rape after admitting that he had sexual intercourse with an inmate in February 1997.

How the NY Adult Survivors Act Can Help Victims Obtain Justice

The New York Adult Survivors Act is groundbreaking legislation that provides victims of sexual abuse with new opportunities to file civil lawsuits against entities and institutions that failed to protect them – even if such a claim would have previously been barred by the statute of limitations.

If you or a loved one were sexually abused at a NY State jail or prison, the Adult Survivors Act means that you can now step forward and seek justice. That’s because the ASA:

  • Applies to civil claims involving sexual offenses that occurred when the victim was 18 years of age or older.
  • Creates a one-year lookback window during which survivors can file lawsuits – no matter how long ago the alleged offense occurred.
  • Allows claims to be brought against both abusers and institutions that failed to uphold duties to protect survivors or supervise employees.

The Adult Survivors Act was signed into law and is now in effect. And while it is an incredible victory for sexual abuse survivors, the law only creates a one-year window in which victims must file their lawsuits. Per the ASA, this window will begin on November 24, 2022 and end on November 24, 2023,

Given the short window, survivors with potential claims should take immediate steps to speak with an attorney about their rights and options.

Call For a FREE Consultation: (800) 315-3806

Our attorneys at Levy Konigsberg are actively investigating sex abuse within the New York State prison system and are currently representing many former inmates with claims dating back decades. We’re available to confidentially discuss your rights, available options, and how we may be able to help you pursue the justice and compensation your deserve during a FREE consultation.

To request a FREE case review, call (800) 315-3806 or contact us online.

Categories

You Don't Have to Come Into the Office for a Fresh Start

Have questions about how the works? Give us a call for a FREE CONFIDENTIAL CASE EVALUATION or fill out a form to speak with an attorney.

Contact Us

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.