Lawsuits for Sexual Abuse in Women's Prisons
Call 800-315-3806 to Learn More About a New Extended Deadline for Filing in New York
Women who were sexually abused while incarcerated at correctional facilities in New York 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 legal pathways through which victims of sexual assault can file lawsuits and seek a financial recovery, even if their abuse occurred years or decades ago. This gives inmates the power to call out prison abuse and seek justice for everything that was done to them.
Levy Konigsberg represents hundreds of women who were sexually abused in New York prisons and jails. If you have questions about a potential claim, we want to help. Our prison abuse attorneys are fighting inmate abuse, will you join the battle?
Levy Konigsberg is known nationally for litigating sexual abuse lawsuits against large and powerful institutions. We’ve recovered over $3 billion in compensation for clients and are leading the fight for female inmates abused at jails and prisons statewide. To request a FREE consultation, call (800) 315-3806 or contact us online.
A Dark Legacy: Sexual Abuse in New York Women’s Jails and Prisons
Over the course of decades, numerous court cases have implicated New York’s female jails and prisons in allegations of sexual misconduct. This includes criminal cases against corrections officers who sexually assaulted inmates and claims against DOCCS leadership accused of concealing and covering up abuse.
This unchecked abuse has left a dark legacy on the lives of many former inmates and extends to nearly every women’s jail and prison in the state. Now, survivors are fighting back.
At Levy Konigsberg, we’re dedicated to helping former female inmates abused at any jail, prison, or correctional facility in New York, including:
- Bayview Correctional Facility
- Albion Correctional Facility
- Taconic and Bedford Hills Correctional Facilities
- Lakeview Shock Incarceration Center
- Rose M. Singer Center (RMSC), Riker's Island
- Beacon Correctional Facility
- Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC New York), MDC Brooklyn, and other Federal jails
Do you know other women who were sexually abused in a New York prison or
jail? If so, we invite you to refer a friend by contacting us or sharing
our firm’s contact information with them.
File Deadline November 23, 2023
REFER A FRIEND: HELP SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ABUSE IN NEW YORK PRISONS
Sexual Abuse at Bayview Correctional Facility
The now-defunct Bayview Correctional Facility was a medium-security women’s prison in Manhattan that closed in 2012. During its operation, numerous investigations and legal filings have confirmed that the facility experienced a systemic problem with sexual abuse and misconduct.
- In 1985, a DOCS Inspector General report revealed findings from two investigations initiated after a female inmate became pregnant. It found that in 1983 and 1984, six guards and a sergeant were suspended without pay for improper relationships with inmates. The investigations noted widespread sexual misconduct, including guards coercing and bribing female inmates to engage in sexual activity. The report is evidence that sexual abuse at Bayview dates back decades and that prison officials knew about the abuse but failed to protect inmates.
- 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 in 2001. The guard pleaded guilty to 3rd degree rape in a separate case.
- In 2014, the DOCCS 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. The officer pleaded guilty to multiple counts of rape in a separate criminal case.
Levy Konigsberg is investigating potential claims from dozens of former inmates who claim they were sexually abused while incarcerated at Bayview and continues to receive calls from survivors with claims dating back decades. Our work for Bayview victims was also profiled in a Daily News cover story.
Read more about Bayview sexual abuse lawsuits.
Sexual Abuse at 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 max-security women’s prison, in the town of Bedford.
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, Officer Iran Colon was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to third-degree criminal sex act 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 3rd degree criminal sexual act connected to an incident with an inmate in September 2017.
- In 2017, Officer Jeffrey Green 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, Officer Richard Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one count of 3rd degree rape after engaging in sexual intercourse with an inmate in December 2013.
- In 2012, a jury found Officer Frederick Brenyah guilty on multiple counts, including 3rd degree attempted rape, 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 3rd degree rape after admitting that he had sexual intercourse with an inmate in February 1997.
Sexual Abuse at Albion Correctional Facility
Albion Correctional Facility is a New York State medium-security women’s prison that has been mired in years of alleged and substantiated abuse claims.
- In 2022, the Correctional Association of New York (CANY) published findings from a monitoring visit to Albion conducted in June 2022. The report noted that inmates frequently reported incidents of abusive staff behavior, that over a quarter (28.6%) of respondents reported “filing an OSI or PREA report in response to sexual assault or abuse at Albion,” and that complaints were poorly addressed or met with retaliation, including threats and disciplinary tickets. Inmates who shared their experiences noted that correctional officers often made lewd and inappropriate comments, misused cameras to watch inmates change or shower, or took advantage of a lack of camera surveillance in certain areas to commit abusive acts. One inmate reported an attempted rape by an officer who had been circling the dorm one evening and shining his flashlight into cubicles. Another inmate also spoke of an officer who loitered around the dorm area with a flashlight attempting to sexually assault inmates at night.
- In 2020, Albion was one of several state prisons named in a federal lawsuit that accused the DOCCS of failing to protect female inmates from abuse by male staff.
- In August 2020, Albion officer James W. Castonguay pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal sex act against two female inmates.
- In February 2020, Albion officer David Stupnick was sentenced to six months in jail and lifetime sex offender registration for his sexual involvement with two inmates.
- In 2019, Officer Adam Brokaw was sentenced to jail and probation after pleading guilty to one count of first-degree sexual abuse for a sexual act involving a victim who was unable to give consent. The incident occurred during a party at a home in Batavia.
- In 2015, a New York court awarded a female inmate raped by an Albion guard in 2007 $605,750 in damages after finding that the state knew of the abuse but failed to act. The plaintiff was also awarded $500,000 by a federal court. The officer, Donald Lasker Jr., pleaded guilty to rape.
Read more about our work representing Albion Correctional sex abuse victims.
Sexual Abuse at Lakeview Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility
Lakeview Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility allows eligible inmates to participate in discipline and drug treatment programs in exchange for leniency and lighter sentences. However, records indicate that the programs are rife with physical, mental, and sexual abuse against inmates.
- In 2020, Lakeview Shock was implicated in a federal lawsuit over staff-on-inmate sexual abuse that accused officers of covering up assaults and threatening inmates to remain silent.
- In 2018, Officer Matthew Antolini was charged with official misconduct for having an unlawful relationship with an inmate.
- In 2017, Officer James Beam Jr. was charged with 3rd degree rape and multiple counts of official misconduct over an alleged relationship with an inmate.
- In 2013, a Times Union article featuring stories from former female inmates abused during their incarceration included one Lakeview inmate who alleged that she was raped by a guard.
Read more about sexual abuse at Lakeview Shock.
Sexual Abuse at Rikers Island / Rose M. Singer Center
Like prisons, New York jails have struggled with a pervasive culture of abuse and cover ups. This is especially true of the Rose M. Singer Center (or “Rosie’s) on Rikers Island, a female jail operated by the New York City Department of Correction (NYCDOC).
In operation since 1988, the Rose M. Singer Center has as dark a history of staff-on-inmate abuse as state prisons. In one notable civil case brought against the City of New York by a former inmate who was raped by three male guards, expert testimony showed that a toxic culture and “code of silence” among guards caused female inmates at Rosie’s to report sexual assaults at twice the national average.
The latest incident occurred in June 2022, when the NYC Department of Correction fired Riker's Correctional Officer Leonard McNeill after an administrative law judge found that he repeatedly had sex with a detainee, furnished her drugs, and pressured her to delay filing a report over her rape by another officer. The charges against McNeill, whose actions were described as "outrageous misconduct" and "completely unacceptable,” were related to a series of incidents at Rosie’s in 2015 that led to a $500,000 settlement paid by the city in 2019.
Other notable incidents:
- In 2019, New York City paid $1.2 million to settle claims involving a female inmate who was raped by multiple guards at the Rose M. Singer Center.
- In 2018, the City paid $425,000 to a female inmate who was sexually abused at Rosie’s.
- In 2017, RMSC guard Jose Cosme pleaded guilty to a felony criminal sex act for an incident with a female inmate in 2015. The victim later reached a $500,000 settlement with the City.
- In 2017, the City paid two former inmates $1.2 million to settle claims that they were raped and sexually assaulted by a male guard.
The history of abuse at Rosie’s dates back through its entire existence, as do the claims of coercion, cover-ups, and systemic failures by guards and DOC leadership. In addition to our representation of former inmates at NY State women’s prisons, our team at Levy Konigsberg is also working with female detainees and inmates who were sexually abused at Rosie’s and other jails across the state.
Sexual Abuse at MCC New York
The Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York may be a federal detention center operated by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), but it’s history of abuse against female inmates mirrors that of state prisons.
- In 2021 and 2022, the federal government paid more than $4 million to settle two lawsuits brought by six women who alleged that they were sexually abused by an MCC officer.
- In 2020, Officer Colin Akparanta pleaded guilty to sexually abusing seven female inmates at MCC New York between 2012 and 2018. He was later sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
Our firm is investigating potential cases of staff-on-inmate abuse at MCC New York and other federal detention centers across the state.
Common Perpetrators of Sexual Abuse in Prisons
New York law prohibits sexual contact between inmates and any staff member who provides inmate services. As a result, claims are typically brought against certain perpetrators:
- Corrections officers
- Prison staff and administrators
How a Sexual Abuse Lawyer Can Help
Sexual abuse lawsuits are among the most emotionally and legally complex cases in the civil system. When they pit individuals against institutions and government entities, the challenges are even greater.
Fortunately, legal counsel can help victims level the playing field with powerful adversaries. Skilled attorneys can also tackle the key aspects of a case and position clients to recover the maximum compensation possible. Our prison sex abuse lawyers provide support for:
- Maintaining confidentiality
- Investigations and witness interviews
- Discovery and depositions
- Expert witnesses, including mental health and sexual trauma experts
- Claim construction and legal research
- Settlement negotiations and litigation
At Levy Konigsberg, we have litigated sex abuse claims against institutions such as the Catholic Church, public and private universities, hospital systems, and the Boy Scouts of America. We have extensive experience helping survivors take on powerful opponents and know what it takes to produce results.
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.
New Extended Deadline for Filing in New York
The Adult Survivors Act was signed in May 2022 and is now in effect. And while it is an incredible victory for sexual abuse survivors, the law only creates a one-year window for victims to file lawsuits.
Per the ASA, this window will begin on November 24, 2022 and end on November 24, 2023.
Given that the lookback window is temporary, survivors with potential claims should take immediate steps to speak with an attorney about their rights and options. We can show you how to report inmate abuse and help stop prisoner abuse by guards and other prison officials.
For a free and confidential case evaluation, contact us online or call 800-315-3806.
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Q:What if a guard claims sex was consensual?
A: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 This means that any sexual contact between staff and inmates is unlawful, and that claiming a relationship was consensual is not a viable defense. New York State, New York City, and the federal government have settled many prison abuse lawsuits involving alleged consensual contact between inmates and guards, and such claims will not preclude your lawsuit.
Q:WHAT IF THE FACILITY WHERE I WAS ABUSED IS CLOSED?
A:Several jails and prisons from which abuse claims originated have closed. This includes Bayview Correctional Facility, which closed in 2012, and MCC New York, which was shut down in 2021. Despite these facilities no longer being open, victims who were abused during their incarceration may still pursue claims against the entities which operated them. And thanks to the New York Adult Survivors Act, these claims can be filed over alleged abuse that occurred at any time in the past.
Q:DO I HAVE A CASE IF I NEVER FILED A COMPLAINT ABOUT MY ABUSE?
A:Complaints can serve as potential evidence in a lawsuit, but you may still have a case even if a formal complaint was never filed. As evidenced by years of administrative, civil, and criminal records, staff at New York jails and prisons created a culture of coercion and secrecy that kept survivors silent. Many inmates feared retaliation, violence, and further abuse for speaking out and those who did report abuse often saw them tossed aside with little to no investigation. Formal complaints are not a requirement for having a case, and there may be other available evidence to substantiate allegations. Our attorneys can help evaluate your options when reviewing your case.
Q:WHAT IF THE GUARD WHO ABUSED ME WAS NEVER CHARGED?
A:Numerous New York corrections officers have been charged with crimes for abusing and assaulting female inmates, but many more have evaded criminal accountability. At Levy Konigsberg, we represent victims in civil lawsuits, which are separate matters from criminal proceedings that use a lower burden of proof. This means you may still have a case even if the guard or guards responsible for your abuse were never charged, and even if criminal charges were dropped or guards were acquitted.