The newly passed New York Adult Survivors Act has renewed a focus on the dark legacy of sexual abuse against female inmates at Bayview, Albion, and other New York State women’s prisons.
But prisons aren’t the only correctional facilities in New York that have shown alarming patterns of abuse and failures to protect those in custody. Jails across the state – and the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island in particular – have also been plagued by years of staff-on-inmate abuse.
Were you sexually abused while incarcerated at the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island or another jail or state prison in New York? Our award-winning attorneys at Levy Konigsberg want to help. Call (800) 315-3806 or contact us onlinefor a FREE and confidential consultation.
Rikers Island Staff-on-Inmate Sexual Abuse
The Rikers Island complex is operated by the New York City Department of Correction (NYCDOC). It consists of 10 jails, including the Rose M. Singer Center (RMSC), which has operated as a facility for female detainees and sentenced inmates since 1988.
As part of one of the most notorious jail complexes in the nation, the Rose M. Singer Center – or “Rosie’s” as it’s also known – has been implicated in numerous complaints and court filings over alleged and substantiated incidents of inmate sexual abuse, often involving male correction officers.
In June 2022 officer McNeill was fired by the New York City Department of Correction following an investigation into his sexual abuse of an inmate and his efforts to cover up the rape of another inmate by another officer. In a Court decision recommending McNeill's firing, it was found that he had engaged in a sexual relationship with an inmate and pressured her to delay reporting a rape by another officer. The Court described McNeill's behavior as “outrageous misconduct” and “completely unacceptable.”
Additionally, it was also reported that McNeill had used his position of power to abuse and exploit the inmates under his supervision. He was also found guilty of pressuring the victims to remain silent about the rape and abuse.
These incidents are a reminder of the ongoing issues of abuse and misconduct within the criminal justice system, and the need for continued efforts to hold those in positions of power accountable for their actions.
Prior Reported Incidents:
- In 2012, the Department of Justice named the Rose M. Singer Center among the worst correctional facilities in the country for high rates of sexual misconduct against inmates by staff members. The DOJ survey uncovered that nearly 6% of inmates had reported that they were sexually victimized by facility staff, which was seven times higher than the level of reported sexual abuse by staff compared to the national average. Reports involved acts of physical force, threats of physical force, coercion, intimidation, and other forms of sexual abuse.
- In February 2019, the City of New York agreed to pay $500,000 to a female inmate to settle claims that she was raped by a correction officer while she was in pretrial detention at the Rose M. Singer Center. The officer, Jose Cosme, pleaded guilty to a felony criminal sex act. Leonard McNeill, another officer who was accused of engaging in sexual acts with the victim and pressuring her to delay reporting the rape, was later fired after an administrative trial.
- In July 2019, the City of New York reached a $1.2 million settlement with a Rikers Island inmate who was raped over several hours by three male guards. The ruling noted that inmates at Rosie’s report sexual assaults at twice the national average and that correction officers operated on a “code of silence” that allowed abuse to go unchecked.
- In 2018, the City of New York agreed to pay $425,000 to a female inmate after she wore a wire to expose three correction officers – Steven Santiago, David Johnson, and Nana Osei – who sexually abused her while she was incarcerated at Rikers Island between 2015 and 2016.
- In 2017, New York City agreed to pay two former Rikers Island inmates $1.2 million to resolve claims of rape and sexual assault by a male guard at the Rose M. Singer Center.
Levy Konigsberg is Leading the Fight for Women Survivors of Inmate Sex Abuse
Levy Konigsberg is a nationally respected trial practice that’s won over $3 billion in compensation for the injured and wronged.
Thanks to the NY Adult Survivors Act, a groundbreaking law that creates a 1-year lookback window for sex abuse victims to file civil lawsuits regardless of how long ago their abuse occurred, we’re representing a growing number of female former inmates in claims that seek accountability and compensation. You may have a claim if:
- You were the victim of sexual assault and/or misconduct involving a correction officer or staff member at Rosie’s or another women’s jail or prison in New York.
- You were 18 years of age at the time of the abuse.
Learn more about how the ASA can help female inmates at NY jails and prisons seek justice.
In New York, inmates incarcerated in correctional facilities cannot legally consent to sexual acts with a guard or staff member who provides services to inmates (N.Y. Penal Law § 130.05). This means you may still have a case even if officers claim that sexual contact was consensual. What’s more, victims can bring claims not only against alleged abusers, but also the institutions and leadership that failed to take necessary measures to protect them from abuse.
Call (800) 315-3806 For a FREE and Confidential Consultation.
Levy Konigsberg is actively reviewing potential Rikers Island inmate sex abuse claims, and currently represents numerous clients abused at Albion Correctional, Bayview Correctional, and other prisons and jails across New York.
As the window for bringing a sex abuse lawsuit under the Adult Survivors Act will be open only from November 24, 2022 and November 24, 2023, we encourage survivors with potential claims to reach out to our firm as soon as possible. To request a free and confidential case review, contact us.