A former inmate at Missouri’s Chillicothe Correctional Center says she was repeatedly raped by a guard and then victimized by an on-site counselor.
Karen Backues Keil, writes the New York Post¸ was released from the Midwestern jail in February 2017. She’d served six years for forgery and theft.
But the hardships of hard time didn’t fade away with freedom, claims a federal lawsuit filed by Keil. A year and a half after her release, Keil says she still battles the ‘stress and sorrow’ of being raped more than 20 times by prison guard Edward Bearden.
“I can’t get over it,” Keil told the Kansas City Star. “It’s there every second of the day. I have to think about it and I have to fight those thoughts in my head that I deserved this. And I didn’t. Nobody deserves what I went through.”
Keil’s lawsuit, reports the Post, was filed earlier in the week. It accuses Bearden of initiating a long cycle of victimization and abuse—beginning with inappropriately intimate pat-downs, the abuse escalated to rape and all-out assault. According to Keil, the attacks were regular between 2012 and 2015.
Seeking help from on-site mental health staff, Keil began seeing Chillicothe Correctional counselor John Thomas Dunn. He, too, claims the suit, began assaulting her.
Dunn, who plead guilty last year to inappropriate sexual conduct with a different prisoner, purportedly tried to downplay his own role in the wrongdoing.
“Did Bearden do it like this?” he’d ask Keil, physically acting out the assaults she’d recounted.
And Dunn did little to shield the inmate from Bearden—the Post says he suggested she’d likely be thrown into solitary confinement if she even tried lodging a complaint.
“I was afraid I would not get to see my daughter and husband for a very long time,” said Keil. “I knew if I reported these horrific acts to anyone else, that I would be the one who would be punished.
“The one person I did report to started assaulting me as well,” claims Keil.
Dunn’s attorneys haven’t offered any comment on Keil’s accusations—and neither have Bearden, Chillicothe Correctional or any of the other entities named in the suit.
Keil says her decision to litigate was spurred by Bearden’s attempts to contact her post-release. The guard allegedly asked other convicts where she planned to go once she was released from prison, and frequently asked her questions about her marital status and where she planned to work after getting out.
She says another counselor—one hired outside the confines of Chillicothe—encouraged her to speak out after hearing her story.
“I thought I could shove all this down inside me and not have to think about it again,” said Keil, “but it just doesn’t work that way.”