The city will pay $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit by a woman who alleged she was raped and forced to perform sex acts on a now-retired Correction Department Captain and two Correction Officers while she was being held at Rikers.
The woman, identified only as Jane Doe, alleged in her Federal claim that she was brought to an isolated room in an abandoned area of the Rose M. Singer Center by three uniformed officers, stripped and handcuffed to a toilet when she was first jailed Oct. 11, 2013. She was then raped and forced to perform oral sex by Correction Department Capt. Pablo Porter and the two COs.
Threat to Silence Her
Hours later, she was taken from the abandoned area to the housing unit by another Correction Officer, identified in court papers as Emma Williams, who told Ms. Doe, "This never happened," and, "If it is being heard upstairs, things are going to be worse."
Ms. Doe will receive $250,000 of the total settlement, with legal and attorney fees accounting for the other $950,000, a city Law Department spokesman said in a statement. The Federal trial was slated to start this month.
“The safety and security of those entrusted to the care of DOC is a top priority,” the statement said. “Based on our evaluation of the circumstances of this case, we have determined that this settlement is in the best interest of all parties. The plaintiff has agreed to withdraw the claims against the defendant officers and settle with the city to end this longstanding case.”
Her attorney did not return an email seeking comment.
Ms. Doe had sought remedy in U.S. District Court under Federal civil-rights statutes, contending that the city, and not just the Correction Department officers, violated her civil rights because it bore responsibility for the conditions that allowed the alleged criminal acts to take place by failing to adequately investigate and then subsequently discipline DOC employees.
In granting several of the summary motions, a U.S. District Judge had allowed the lawsuit to proceed.
Department ‘Not Credible’
The suit named Captain Porter, who is now retired, Correction Officer Williams, who is still employed by the DOC, several other unidentified Correction Officers and the city as defendants.
Although she was released a few days later, Ms. Doe was remanded to the Singer Center on Jan. 16, 2014, on a new charge. Her suit claimed that she was again sexually and physically assaulted by Correction Officer Williams and two male Correction Officers multiple times over the next several days.
Alluding to an expert report from November 2016 that cited a longtime Warden’s determination that the city’s policies were inadequate, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan of the Southern District earlier this year found “that a reasonable juror could conclude that the failures to investigate and discipline officers accused of sexual assault that are described in the Ryan Report caused Defendants Porter and Williams to determine that they would not be investigated or punished for participating in the sexual assault of Doe.”
Judge Nathan cited both Ms. Doe’s testimony and lengthy passages from the expert report, including data from the Department of Justice demonstrating that RMSC inmates report sexual assaults at more than twice the national average. She also cited a passage in the report that found that no allegations were substantiated against COs between 2011 and 2013, which, she wrote, the Ryan Report concluded was “‘just not credible.’”
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