The officer allegedly responsible for selling the key has since recanted his confession, claiming he was “coerced” into claiming that he enabled the attacks.
Twenty-eight female prisoners at an Indiana jail have filed federal lawsuits alleging that they were attacked and sexually assaulted after a corrections officer sold the key to the women’s unit to a male inmate for $1,000.
According to the complaints, the women were subjected to a “night of terror’ at Clark County Jail in Indiana, beginning early on October 24, 2021, and continuing over the course of several hours.
During the violent attack, multiple women were “raped, assaulted, harassed, threatened and intimidated.”
The most recent lawsuit, writes NBC News, was filed on behalf of eight inmates, all identified by the pseudonym “Jane Doe.”
The lawsuit lists several defendants, including Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel, former corrections officer David Lowe, and multiple “unknown” jail officials.
The previous lawsuit, adds NBC, was filed in June on behalf of 20 other female inmates. The earlier complaint alleges that Clark County corrections officials and staff violated the inmates’ rights by either intentionally or negligently allowing male inmates to gain access to their pods, and then failing to come to their aid.
“Amazingly, even though there were surveillance cameras positioned in locations that showed the male detainees accessing the women’s Pods, and even though the incident involved multiple mail (sic) detainees and dozens of victims over an extended period of time, not a single jail officer on duty that night came to the aid of the Plaintiffs and the other victims,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit alleges that, after the attacks, “rather than support the victims who were subject to sexual assault and abuse, Jail officials punished the women after the incident” by locking down their units, confiscating their personal property, and keeping the lights on inside cells for 72 consecutive hours.
Clark County law enforcement also failed to promptly change the locks separating the male and female facilities, even though the misappropriated keys were still missing.
Speaking to The Washington Post, former corrections officer Lowe said that he made a mistake that allowed the male inmates to steal the keys.
Lowe also insisted that he had been “coerced and assaulted into making a false confession” about selling the keys to male inmates.
NBC News notes that it remains unclear whether any of the alleged male assailants were charged.
“The men, who covered their faces so they could not be identified, were yelling and threatening to harm the women if they called for help or pressed the emergency call button,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuits seek a jury trial and punitive and compensatory damages for the female plaintiffs.