Kentucky female prison guards settle harassment suit: $1.5M

SANDY HOOK, Ky. (AP) — The state of Kentucky will pay $1.5 million to four women who accused their supervisor at a prison of sexually harassing them while they worked there.

The four women had sued Sgt. Stephen Harper and won a $1.6 million jury verdict, but the Department of Corrections appealed the verdict. A settlement was reached that ended the appeal, Lexington attorney Joe Childers told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Tuesday.

“We think this shows the seriousness of the verdict,” Childers said.

Lisa Lamb, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, says the women “deserve closure and we were eager to have it resolved for the benefit of all parties, including taxpayers who would face even greater costs on appeal.”

The women alleged multiple incidents with Harper at the Little Sandy Correctional Complex in Elliott County, including an attempted rape, touching their breasts and buttocks and masturbating in front of them.

The $1.5 million payment will cover damages to the women and fees to their attorneys.

The jury also said the state Department of Corrections had not done enough to prevent and correct sexually harassing behavior.

Three of the woman left the prison before the trial, but one of them still works there.


Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader,

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