MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

July 28, 2013

Women sue prison over sexual assaults

McLOUD (AP) — A federal lawsuit filed by 11 inmates of a female prison claims the women were sexually assaulted by guards and that the prison system allowed the attacks.

The lawsuit, filed July 19, alleges that three guards assaulted the women between December 2010 and late 2012 and that the attacks were made easier because prison administrators didn’t fix a broken video surveillance system.

The Corrections Department is a defendant in the lawsuit, along with two former prison guards, the prison’s former warden and a guard who still works at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McLoud.

The Oklahoman reports (http://is.gd/S3pbjs) two of the former guards named as defendants, David Juber and Jamie Baker, already have been charged with numerous sex crimes in Pottawatomie County.

The guard who still works at the prison, Gilbert Dildine, has not been charged.

The women claim in the lawsuit that surveillance cameras in parts of the facility “were either not properly installed in the area or kept in an ongoing state of disrepair,” and that Juber, Baker and Dildine took advantage of the security lapse.

The suit accuses the Corrections Department and upper management at the prison of allowing the assaults through negligence.

Former Warden Millicent Newton-Embry and the facility’s current Deputy Warden Carla King are named in the suit. Newton-Embry is now the department’s coordinator for the Prison Rape Elimination Act. The position was created through a federal law enacted in 2003 to cut down on sexual assaults in the nation’s prisons.

Corrections Department spokesman Jerry Massie would not comment on the allegations. He said the agency had not been served the lawsuit.

The women are seeking a judgment of more than $100,000.

“Prior to the incidents ... (Newton-Embry and King) had a long history of ignoring complaints of inmates and daily notices of guards which indicated that video surveillance cameras, lights, doors and buzzers were either improperly installed in a particular area or kept in a state of disrepair,” the lawsuit states.

“This has been known for some time, especially when inmates were involved in an altercation or something was stolen ... On such occasions, inmates had been told that it would be impossible because the cameras were not working,” the complaint alleges.

The lawsuit claims the majority of assaults were carried out in a staff bathroom or a supply closet.

Lawyers for the women allege Baker, Juber and Dildine would concoct reasons to remove the prisoners from their cells, including fictitious appointments to see the prison nurse or to perform chores.

The guards allegedly offered favors to the women for not reporting the sexual contact.

The criminal cases in Pottawatomie County against Baker and Juber are pending.

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