Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Warrant Issued For Former Corrections Officer Accused Of Rape

Thanks goes out to Erin for the heads up on this story. It is a sad testament that this practice continues in the state and private prison industry. Mari Newman is a an exceptional attorney and we applaud her efforts.

By Erin Rosa 05/23/2008

An arrest warrant has been issued for a former prison guard with the Colorado Department of Corrections who is facing both civil and criminal charges of sexual misconduct with inmates, including rape.

The corrections officer failed to appear in court on Tuesday for criminal charges of unlawful sexual conduct with a female inmate he used to supervise, according to Denver district court records. A civil suit filed earlier this month accuses the same guard of raping a female inmate while she was in state custody.

District court records show that 37-year-old Lashawn Terrell, a former sergeant at the Denver Women's Correctional Facility, was first charged by state authorities with engaging in sexual relations with an inmate at the prison in 2006. The sexual acts were reported to have taken place from June to October that year, according to legal statements in the case.

Court records show that Terrell was arrested for the first offense and incarcerated briefly before being released on a $10,000 bond in November 2006.

The case is still pending, and clerks with the district court confirmed that a warrant had been issued for Terrell for failure to appear for a hearing on Tuesday.

On May 13, Mari Newman with Killmer, Lane & Newman, a legal firm that focuses on civil rights issues, filed a lawsuit against Terrell and the state corrections department claiming that the former guard raped and sodomized an inmate at the women's correctional facility in 2006 and that the department had failed to act to stop the abuse.

It is unclear whether there is more than one accuser since the names of possible sexual assault victims are redacted before records are made public.

Newman did not respond to a request for comment, but according to the legal brief, Terrell is alleged to have coerced the female inmate into engaging in sexual acts in the kitchen cooler area in the facility during her work assignment program.

Terrell then "proceeded to treat [the inmate] as a virtual sex slave," even though the inmate "told him she did not want to have sex with him," according to the brief. In exchange for the sexual acts, Terrell is alleged to have given the inmate small amounts of "money, stamps, and coffee."

According to the lawsuit, the rapes escalated to a point where the inmate was forcibly sodomized by Terrell and physically injured in the rectal area, causing long-term bowel difficulties. The legal brief states that a cellmate notified department authorities when she noticed the inmate was bleeding upon returning to her cell.

The suit also claims that other inmates at the women's facility had seen Terrell raping or engaging in sexual behavior with other inmates, and that the corrections department was negligent in letting such things happen in a state facility.

In response to inquires about Terrell and the two legal cases, department spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti said she could not comment on pending litigation. The department has yet to respond to the suit in court.

Attempts to contact Terrell were unsuccessful
Colorado Springs Independent


ms_saul said...

Unfortunately, stories of sexual misconduct and rape in prison are becoming a daily occurrence. In this case, it is horrific because it is blatantly a case of rape. However, to expand on the topic, the fact of the matter is that most relationships in women's prisons are based on economic motives (this is from academic research, not my own personal opinion). So it doesn't surprise me that the guard offered her small "gifts" in exchange - that's pretty much the way it works. And there are tons of these relationships that receive zero press because they are less terrible in the details. So while I am of course pleased that attention is drawn to this case, I hope that we will begin to take more seriously the implications of all sexual relationships in prison, not just those that are violent.

Anonymous said...

lawschoolinmate. Well said. I can't imagine how much physical and emotional pain this woman went through. This rapist must be put to justice. How can a misogynist been deemed qualified? From the little knowledge we get from reading this article, this rapist also has the potential for being homicidal. It makes me wonder how many 'correctional officers' hide behind their titles in order to commit sadistic offenses. This is a major cause for concern!

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's time for correction officiers to be sentenced to a 2 year to life sentence with parole determined by the ridiculously punitive parolle board that the State of CO has provided for all other inmates in DOC !!!!!

Then be registered as a sex offender for life like anyone else in the state that commits such a sick crime.

It's gone on for years and it's time to clean things up. Wonder how he would survive as an ex corrections officier in prison!!!!

cr8zaz said...

lock him up if he did this. if you ever worked in a womens prison you know these are the most attenion needing, manipultive inmates in the prison system. they cut their wrist and have so many emotional problems well before they get into the system. soon as they come to doc they get their education in beating the system or getting paid at officers or doc expense. this may sound ugly so if you have a weak stomach stop reading. many women at dwcf have homemade dildos, anything long and hard is used as a sex toy and we have taken women to denver health for such vaginal or rectal medical problems. consense/pleasure/sodomy who knows, but these girls can damage themselfs and set up a officer who they hate. they dont work solo they work in groups when they want to set a hated officer up. they have 24/7 to work the reports. if terrell did these sick crimes which make every male officer look like crap working in female prisons, he should be shot between the eyes. i will not judge too soon on this.