Levy Konigsberg is currently investigating cases of staff-on-inmate sexual abuse at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City (MCC New York), the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn (MDC Brooklyn), and other federal jails and detention centers.
As detailed in a recent Daily News cover story, our firm is leading the fight in litigation over systemic sexual abuse at women’s jails and prisons across New York. We’re representing a growing number of former female inmates who were abused at state and federal facilities – including MCC New York – and are helping victims explore their rights and legal options under the newly enacted NY Adult Survivors Act, which gives sexual assault survivors a temporary 1-year window to file lawsuits.
If you or someone you love were sexually abused while incarcerated at MCC New York, we want to help. Call (800) 315-3806 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.
Sex Abuse Cases at MCC New York
MCC New York is a federal detention facility in Manhattan. Because it houses inmates who’ve been indicted on federal charges, it’s operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) rather than the NY State DOCCS or a city corrections department.
While MCC New York is a federal jail under a different jurisdiction than city- and state-operated jails and prisons, it has a similar history of alleged and substantiated sex abuse claims. Some recent cases involving guards and abused inmates at the correctional center:
- In 2021 and 2022, the federal government paid a total of $4.8 million to settle two separate lawsuits filed by six victims who were sexually abused by Officer Colin Akparanta at MCC New York between 2012 and 2018.
- In 2020, Akparanta was sentenced to 40 months in prison after pleading guilty to charges of sexually abusing seven female inmates during his time at MMC New York. Akparanta was accused of assaulting at least 14 inmates since he became a correctional officer in 2004.
While it remains unclear if MCC New York will reopen, female inmates who experienced abuse, assault, and sexual misconduct while it was in operation may still have grounds to pursue legal action thanks to the newly enacted Adult Survivors Act.
Sex Abuse Cases at MDC Brooklyn
MCC New York was closed in October 2021 due to deteriorating facilities. Federal detainees in the NYC area are now typically assigned to the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, which has also experienced issues with staff-on-inmate abuse. For example:
- In 2017, three MDC officers, including two lieutenants, were indicted on charges of abusing at least half a dozen female inmates during their cleaning duties. While most assaults occurred in 2016, prosecutors suggested the pattern may have begun years before and that an FBI complaint had been submitted in 1995 by an inmate who claimed she was raped by one of the two lieutenants while on cleaning duty. Prosecutors say one of the indicted lieutenants – Carlos Richard Martinez – overpowered and raped a female inmate who was assigned to clean the lieutenant’s office. The other lieutenant, Eugenio Perez, was accused of sexually abusing four female inmates in 2016 and attempting to sexually abuse one in 2013. All inmates reported that the assaults occurred while they were cleaning the lieutenants office area.
- In 2012, the BOP paid $625,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a prisoner who was raped by BOP Lieutenant Randy Denjen at MDC Brooklyn in 2001. Denjen pleaded guilty in 2002 and was sentenced to 151 months in prison.
Court records from these and other cases reveal alarming patterns of abuse and misconduct at MDC Brooklyn. This includes inappropriate relationships between officers and inmates involving outside food and sexual favors, and the practice of assigning female inmates to cleaning duty in the middle of the night, which often led to female inmates being alone or in small groups with male officers during the facility’s quietest hours.
These issues, prosecutors claimed, were a large reason why there was such a disproportionate number of sexual assaults reported by female inmates at MDC.
The BOP’s 2016 Annual Report, for example, stated that there were just three substantiated cases of staff-on-inmate sexual misconduct across its 100+ jails and prisons, while prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn claimed that at least that many were sexually abused by staff in 2016 solely at MDC – which accounts for just 1% of the BOP’s inmate population.
Criminal Charges and Civil Sex Abuse Claims
Under federal law (18 U.S. Code § 2243), it is a crime for any federal law enforcement officer to engage in a sexual act with an individual “who is under arrest, under supervision, in detention, or in Federal custody.” This means that any sexual contact between a federal corrections officer and an inmate is unlawful, and that guards cannot claim that sex was consensual in their defense.
Whether the officer(s) involved in your abuse were charged and convicted or never indicted in criminal court, you may still have grounds to pursue a claim.
The sex abuse lawsuits being investigated by our firm are civil claims that are separate from criminal and administrative proceedings. Civil claims also use a lower burden of proof than what’s used in criminal cases, which means that you may still have a viable claim even if an officer was acquitted.
If you are unsure about the merits of your potential case, our attorneys at Levy Konigsberg offer free and confidential consultations. We can discuss your matter and your available options.
Adult Survivors Acts Allows Victims to File Sex Abuse Lawsuits No Matter When Abuse Occurred
Levy Konigsberg is handling a growing number of sexual abuse lawsuits involving female inmates who were victimized by prison guards, staff, counselors, and volunteers. These lawsuits were made possible by the New York Adult Survivors Act, a groundbreaking law that allows victims of sexual crimes to bring claims against abusers and institutions that failed to protect them.
Sex abuse lawsuits are typically subject to a statute of limitations that, once expired, bars victims from bringing claims against wrongdoers and at-fault parties. The Survivors Act, however, creates a temporary 1-year lookback window for victims to take legal action – no matter how long ago their abuse occurred. Our attorneys represent clients with claims involving alleged abuse that occurred years or even decades in the past.
Some key facts about the Adult Survivors Act:
- The law applies to victims who were sexually assaulted or abused as adults.
- Victims will be able to pursue claims against both individuals and the institutions or entities that failed to prevent or stop the abuse.
- The 1-year lookback window is November 24, 2022 to November 24, 2023.
Call (800) 315-3806 for a FREE Consultation
Levy Konigsberg is actively reviewing potential claims from former female prisoners at federal, state, and city jails and prisons. Our firm has extensive experience litigating sex abuse cases and has recovered record results and million in compensation for survivors.
If you’d like to discuss a potential sex abuse lawsuit involving your time at MCC New York, MDC Brooklyn, or another federal detention center in New York, please call (800) 315-3806 or contact us online. Consultations are FREE and confidential.