A woman suing staff from a southwest Ohio jail alleges corrections officers raped her and nurses withheld her medicine for epilepsy, leaving her with debilitating seizures for days while in custody.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati on Jan. 27 by the now 38-year-old woman alleges at least two Warren County jailers raped her in 2013 after she turned herself in on an old warrant for a drug-related charge. It alleges one attack was so forceful it broke her shoulder bone.
The lawsuit demanding a jury trial and unspecified damages was filed against two corrections officers and seven nurses. It alleges sexual and physical abuse of the woman and failure to provide adequate care.
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The Warren County Sheriff's Office doesn't comment on pending legal matters, according to a statement from Chief Deputy Barry Riley.
"However, none of the citizens of Warren County should take our silence about the lawsuit filed by one of our former inmates as an indication that there is any truth to her allegations," Riley said.
The Associated Press generally does not identify alleged victims of sexual abuse.
The lawsuit states the woman was ordered held at the county jail without bond on May 3, 2013, after turning herself in, and she informed medical screeners she had been diagnosed with epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, battered woman syndrome and depression. But her lawsuit states she was denied the prescription she took for epilepsy, and her condition deteriorated during the next several days, with epileptic seizures and withdrawal from anti-seizure medications leaving her unconscious and incoherent at times.
Her incoherence, lack of consciousness and inability to communicate during that time left her "vulnerable and unable to defend herself from rape or sexual assault," the lawsuit states. It alleges the jail officers raped her more than once while she was locked in her cell, with her cell window covered with a garbage bag.
The lawsuit says that despite her repeated pleas to medical staff, nurses did not provide any anti-seizure medications. At a hospital, where she was taken May 10, tests showed sperm in her urine, and she was sent back to jail with an antibiotic prescription for a urinary tractinfection that jail officials then didn't give her, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states she was transferred to a psychiatric treatment center on May 14, where she was diagnosed with psychosis and was treated for that and for epilepsy until she was stable enough to be released July 11, 2013. The psychosis was induced by the trauma of the alleged sexual assault, according to the lawsuit.
The woman's attorney, Jennifer Branch, said Tuesday that the Warren County Sheriff's Office investigated the accused rapes but didn't collect forensic evidence from the woman's clothing, bed or cell or the lab results identifying sperm in her urine.
Branch said no criminal charges have been filed in the case.