SOURCE: Sarelson, P.A.

March 30, 2007 11:17 ET

Sarelson, P.A. Files Suit for $3 Million on Behalf of a Female Inmate Who Was Allegedly Battered and Sexually Abused by Several Federal Correctional Officers in Miami's Federal Detention Center

MIAMI, FL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 30, 2007 --Miami attorneys Matthew S. Sarelson and Jeffrey T. Donner announced today they have filed suit against the United States and Bureau of Prisons on behalf of a 34-year-old, female, former federal inmate who was allegedly repeatedly sexually battered and raped while housed at the Federal Detention Center in Miami, Florida. These crimes were allegedly committed over a three-year period by four correctional officers. As the former inmate is no longer under custody and is eager to move on with her life, the lawsuit is filed in the name of "S.R.," the plaintiff's initials.

The suit alleges the government failed to provide safe premises and that it negligently hired and supervised four of its correctional officers. The suit also seeks damages directly from the four correctional officers for violating S.R.'s constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment while serving her sentence. Despite repeated complaints to government officials, the government allegedly failed to properly investigate and remove the correctional officers; therefore S.R. is seeking a total $3 million from the defendants for the alleged aforementioned crimes brought upon her while under the custody of the government and its correctional officers.

Throughout S.R.'s detainment between 2002 and 2005 she was allegedly forced to perform various sexual acts for the correctional officers in exchange for basic items such as newspapers, clean clothes and phone access. In the suit S.R. alleges that at least one officer went so far as to vaginally and anally rape S.R. The FBI arrested and charged another one of the alleged officers for the sexual abuse of yet another inmate, for which he pleaded not guilty. S.R. was called as a witness to testify against the officer, who then changed his plea to guilty and served a year in a federal prison. For unknown reasons the government chose not to prosecute that correctional officer for his alleged crimes against S.R.

An April 2005 report prepared by the U.S. Department of Justice recognized that staff sexual abuse of inmates is a "significant problem." The Justice Department concluded that there is widespread underreporting of staff sexual abuse due to inmate fear of staff retaliating against them if they bring forward allegations of sexual abuse as well as fear of investigators questioning the credibility of their grievances.

Mr. Sarelson's practice encompasses all aspects of federal civil rights and employment matters. The case is styled S.R. v. United States, et al, 07-civ-20648-Altonaga/Turnoff and is pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

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