28 female inmates allege sexual assault after jail guard sold cell keys

Female inmates at a prison in Indiana have filed lawsuits alleging they were subjected to a “night of terror” when a guard sold keys to their cells to male prisoners who sexually assaulted them.

In a pair of lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court, a total of 28 women said they were attacked shortly after midnight on the night of October 23, 2021 at the Clark County jail in Jeffersonville.

The female prisoners accused a guard at the facility, David Lowe, of providing the key to the male inmates for $1,000.

They said the attack by male prisoners wearing masks made out of towels and blankets lasted for about two hours and despite the presence of surveillance cameras guards did not intervene.

“Even though the incident involved multiple male 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,” one of the lawsuits said.

“These systemic failures allowed numerous male assailants to have free run of the jail for several hours, resulting in a night of terror for the plaintiffs and other victims,” it said.

The lawsuits alleged that the male inmates groped female inmates, exposed their genitals, and made sexual and threatening statements. Two of the women alleged they were raped.

Although they were the victims, jail officials punished the women, the lawsuits said, leaving their lights on for 72 hours straight, placing them on “lockdown” and confiscating personal items.

Besides naming Lowe as a defendant, the lawsuits also accused Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel of negligence for failing to prevent the attack.

“A sheriff at the jail — they have one job, and that’s to keep inmates safe and secure. And it’s just a complete, utter failure that allowed this to happen,” Steve Wagner, a lawyer representing eight women, told The Washington Post.

Lowe, the prison guard, told The Washington Post that inmates had stolen the keys that gave them access to the women’s cells and he only learned about the attack days later.

Lowe said in a statement to the newspaper that he was “coerced and assaulted into making a false confession.”

With more than two million people behind bars, the United States has the largest prison population in the world.

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