A Cincinnati Ohio woman has filed a federal lawsuit after she says she was brutally raped at the Warren County, Ohio jail, and claims the jail withheld her seizure medicines as well. The woman, who’ll remain unidentified, accuses at least three men of brutally raping her, forced her to go without clothes, and made her drink from her own cell toilet.
Her attorney Jennifer Branch filed a federal lawsuit, in Cincinnati’s federal court, against several unidentified alleged assailants and nursing staff. Because no charges have yet to be filed, their identities are also confidential.
The woman turned herself in on a 4-year-old warrant for deception to obtain drugs on May 3, 2013. Once in jail, she was denied her epilepsy medication, according to the suit, which left her in a vulnerable state. On May 14, after a horrifying 11-day torture session, the woman was “found naked in her cell, crying and mumbling,” and was sent to a psychiatric hospital, Summit Behavioral Center, the suit says. She was diagnosed with “psychosis induced by the trauma of the sexual assault” at the jail, the suit claims.
In her cell she’s put on her stomach. Three different officers in uniform are present,” Branch told WCPO on Monday. “She can see parts of them and can hear their voices and she knows what they did to her.”
“They kept her naked in her cell. She was on the floor on top of a garbage bag,” Branch said of the treatment she received. Afterward, the jail sent the woman to the hospital for treatment of her epilepsy. While there, her attorney said semen was found in her urine, “The only way she would have had that (semen presence) was if it happened at the jail.”
Chief Deputy Barry Riley issued a statement which read in part, “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.”
Strange as it may seem, Deputy Riley’s statement implied the accuser is making up the incident. But police departments have a moral obligation to investigate such claims. After all, being in jail is scary enough, why should the general population fear sexual assault while being helplessly caged like animals for drugs?
As WCPO reported, saying she was “tortured,” the 38-year-old woman claims the jailers shattered bones in her shoulder during the rapes, used a stun gun on her more than once, took away her clothing, left her covered in her own blood and feces, shut off water to her cell and forced her to drink from a toilet.
She was so desperate for help she attempted to write on the cell wall, in her own blood, ‘God, please help me,’” according to the federal lawsuit.
If the semen has been preserved, it won’t take long for investigators, should they choose to investigate one of their own, to arrive at a conclusion about to whom the semen belongs. But from the way the statement reads, there may be little to no investigating of the woman’s incomprehensible and shocking claims.
The lawsuit also alleges the jail disposed of the woman’s plastic mattress that would have contained DNA and other forensic evidence.
Claims involving alleged rapes should be taken very seriously by law enforcement. If an inmate comes forward with such claims, they must be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. For the meanwhile, the criminal complaint will be presented to the suspected guards involved in the alleged incident. They’ll have 30 days to respond.
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