Fighting for Victims of Staff-on-Inmate Sexual Abuse Nationwide

From county jails to private and public prisons, correctional facilities across the country have been embroiled in high-stakes litigation over failures to protect female inmates from sexual abuse committed by guards and staff. As court records and investigations show, operators of these facilities routinely failed to properly handle complaints and report abusive guards, and many created cultures of silence, secrecy, and coverups that allowed staff-on-inmate abuse to persist for decades.

If you were sexually abused while incarcerated at a jail or prison anywhere in the U.S., you may be entitled to compensation.

Levy Konigsberg is a nationally recognized trial practice with a legacy of litigation sexual abuse lawsuits against powerful institutions, including county-operated jails, juvenile detention centers, and public and private prison systems responsible for unchecked staff-on-inmate abuse. We’ve helped hundreds of former female inmates in the fight for justice and are available to speak with survivors who have questions about their rights and options.

If you have questions about pursuing a civil lawsuit over sexual abuse that occurred while you were housed in a female jail, prison, or detention center, we want to help. Call or contact us online for a FREE and confidential consultation.

We Handle Staff-on-Inmate Abuse Cases Nationwide

Levy Konigsberg has earned national recognition fighting for survivors of staff-on-inmate sexual abuse and currently represents hundreds of former female inmates in the fight for justice.

Whether you were abused at a county-operated jail, a state or federal prison, or any other public or private correctional facility, we have the resources and experience to help.

Our firm is actively investigating cases of female inmate sexual abuse throughout the U.S., including cases involving:

History of Sexual Abuse in U.S. Women’s Prison

The problem of sexual abuse in women’s jails and prisons has been documented by high-profile legal filings, public payouts, criminal cases, and sweeping investigations.

These records have detailed a systemic abuse problem that permeates throughout the nation and shows that operators of correctional facilities have overwhelmingly failed to keep female inmates safe from abusive prison staff. In many cases, the record also shows that facility operators enabled cultures of secrecy and coverups that allows female inmate sexual abuse and misconduct to persist for decades.

While there is ample evidence of staff-on-inmate sex abuse in women’s jails and prisons, recent investigations have provided more insight about the scope of the long-standing problem. For example:

  • In December 2022, a bipartisan Senate investigation found widespread sexual abuse of women in prison by male officers, volunteers, and wardens. The investigation uncovered incidents of abuse and misconduct in at least two-thirds of federal facilities housing women over the past decade alone and identified serious flaws in how the DOJ investigates and punishes offenders. The findings, which representatives called “deeply disturbing,” show that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) systematically failed to prevent, detect, and address staff-on-inmate abuse.
  • In February 2022, an Associated Press investigation found that rampant sexual abuse of female inmates at FCI Dublin in California thrived due to a permissive and toxic culture. The AP noted that the BOP routinely ignored complaints from female inmates and that staff at FCI Dublin worked to conceal abuse by threatening and punishing inmates who stepped forward to report misconduct. Levy Konigsberg currently represents several former female inmates abused at FCI Dublin and other federal women’s prisons nationwide.

In addition to many other investigations like these, the systemic women’s prisons sexual abuse problem has also been revealed through decades of civil lawsuits, settlements paid to survivors, and a litany of criminal charges and convictions involving abusive guards and prison staff. Just a few examples include:

New York Women’s Prisons

  • At the Rose M. Singer Center on Riker’s Island, which was named among the worst correctional facilities in the nation for staff-on-inmate sexual misconduct by the DOJ in 2012, former Officer Jose Cosme , pleaded guilty to a felony criminal sex act and former Officer Leonard McNeill, 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 February 2019, New York City agreed to pay $500,000 to a female inmate who was raped by Cosme.

California Women’s Prisons

  • At FCI Dublin, several lawsuits and criminal cases have revealed an alarming staff-on-inmate abuse problem. This includes an August 2023 lawsuit filed against the BOP by eight former inmates who alleged that sexual abuse and exploitation has persisted since the 1990s. Prior to the suit, five FCI Dublin employees were charged with sex crimes in what prosecutors called one of the worst documented cases of staff-on-inmate abuse in a women’s federal prison This includes former Warden Ray J. Garcia, who was found guilty in December 2022 on charges related to inmate sex abuse that occurred between December 2019 and July 2021, former Officer Darrell Wayne Smith was arrested in May 2023 for sexually abusing three inmates between 2019 and 2021, and former prison chaplain James Theodore Highhouse, who was sentenced to 7 years in prison in August 2022.
  • At the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF), an internal investigation conducted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) identified over 22 potential victims who may have been abused former Officer Gregory Rodriguez. Rodriguez worked at CCWF from September 2010 through August 2022, when he retired from service due to the investigation. He was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting at least 13 inmates over the past nine years, and the charges against Rodriguez include 96 counts of rape, sodomy, sexual battery, and other charges over incidents dating back to 2014.

Oregon Women’s Prisons

  • At the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, former Nurse Tony Daniel Klein was sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexually abusing female inmates. According to prosecutors, Klein, who worked at Coffee Creek from 2010 until January 2018, abused his position of authority to abuse victims and keep them silent.

New Mexico Women’s Prisons

  • At the Western New Mexico Correctional Facility, former Officer Robert Smith was charged with multiple sex crimes in May 2022 for engaging in sexual conduct with a female inmate. According to an investigation conducted by State Police, Smith, who worked at the facility from November 2021 to April 2022, brought contraband into the prison for the victim in exchange for sexual contact and later for the victim’s silence.

Common Perpetrators of Sexual Abuse in Prisons

All sexual activity between a prison worker and an inmate is illegal. Correctional employees enjoy substantial power over inmates, controlling every aspect of their lives from mealtime to lights out, and there is no scenario in which an inmate can give consent.

As a result, claims are typically brought against certain perpetrators who leverage their power to abuse inmates and keep them silent. This includes:

  • Corrections officers
  • Prison staff and administrators
  • Contractors
  • Volunteers

Do I Have a Case?

You may have grounds to file a civil legal action if:

  • You were sexually abused by a guard, volunteer, or other employee/contactor while in custody.
  • The abuse occurred at any jail, prison, or detention facility in the U.S.

Levy Konigsberg represents survivors in civil lawsuits that aim to hold juvenile detention center operators accountable for their failures to stop abusive staff members and protect young inmates.

As civil claims, these cases are separate from any criminal proceedings that may arise from abuse and focus instead on holding institutions liable for damages. This means you may still have a claim even if:

  • Your abuser is no longer alive.
  • Your abuser was never charged with or convicted of a crime.

How a Women’s Prison Sexual Abuse Attorney 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 women’s 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

Levy Konigsberg: Nationwide Leaders in Sex Abuse Litigation

Levy Konigsberg has cultivated a reputation of success fighting for sexual abuse survivors in civil lawsuits – and is known nationally for representing survivors of staff-on-inmate abuse that occurred in jails, prisons, and detention centers.

Unlike criminal cases against alleged abusers, the civil sexual abuse lawsuits we handle focus on recovering justice and compensation for victims, while also holding both abusers and the negligent institutions, entities, and employers who failed to stop the abuse accountable.

Some of our recent work and coverage in this field includes:

Call For a FREE Consultation:

Levy Konigsberg is a top-rated trial practice that’s recovered over $3 billion in compensation for clients. Led by award-winning lawyers, we’ve built a legacy representing survivors in sexual abuse lawsuits across the country and have become known for taking on prison systems and other powerful institutions.

If you have questions about pursuing a civil lawsuit over sexual abuse that occurred when you were in a women’s jail or prison anywhere in the nation, we want to help. We serve survivors nationwide and work on contingency, which means there’s no cost to hire and no fee unless we win.

Call or contact us online for a FREE and confidential consultation.

    S-477 was signed into law by the Governor of New Jersey on March 13, 2019. Similar legislation has been passed in 11 states as of May 2019, and several other states are considering comparable reform. The legislation follows the announcement that New Jersey’s five Roman Catholic dioceses revealed the identity of 188 priests accused of abusing minors, thereby prompting the creation of a victim’s compensation fund.

    New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program

    The New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation (IVC) program established by New Jersey’s five Catholic dioceses began accepting claims from victims of sexual abuse on June 15, 2019. The IVC program was designed to compensate individuals who were sexually abused as children or young adults by diocesan priests of the Roman Catholic dioceses of Newark, Paterson, Metuchen, Trenton and Camden. The fund compensates victims for abuse in churches and schools that largely occurred decades ago. Compensation through the fund comes directly and exclusively from the Church’s finances.

    The IVC program is administered by Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros, compensation experts who have been instrumental in administering other high-profile compensation programs for victims of the Catholic dioceses and 9/11. The IVC program, like its predecessors, is viewed by many as an effective alternative to litigation. It allows victims to handle their claims in an efficient manner and mandates a lower standard of proof than would be required in a courtroom. Moreover, the church is prohibited from challenging any compensation decisions made by the administrators including determinations of eligibility and compensation amounts. Sexual abuse victims sign a release agreeing not to bring future litigation only if they accept the award offered by the IVC fund. The IVC program will end on December 31, 2019.

    Levy Konigsberg LLP is a nationally recognized law firm that has handled all types of negligence cases for more than three decades. If you or a member of your family has been the victim of sexual abuse, please contact our lawyers for a free consultation by calling or submit an email inquiry.


    Find out whether you have a case by speaking to one of our experienced lawyers via our 24/7 toll-free hotline or by submitting an email inquiry. Our attorneys will be quick to respond to you and happy to answer all of your questions.


    Committed to Doing What’s Right

    Over $3 Billion Won

    We have represented numerous individuals and groups of workers, winning for them multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts.

    There's No Case Too Big

    Our team has achieved groundbreaking victories in highly complex cases and has gone up against some of the toughest defendants in the country.

    Trial Attorneys

    Our attorneys excel in the courtroom and are not afraid to bring a case in front of a jury if a fair settlement for the client has not been reached.

    A Thought Leader in the Industry

    Our firm’s knowledge and experience are in high demand, and many news outlets have asked us to share our legal expertise.

    Access to World Class Resources

    Our experienced attorneys use cutting-edge technology and highly regarded experts to help us achieve the best possible result for our clients.

    Changing the World for Good

    We not only want to achieve the best possible results for our clients, but we also strive to prevent future harm by changing public health policies.


    Hear What They Have to Say



    Free Case Review