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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.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

CCA Pays 1.3 Million In Crowley Sex Harassment Suit

A private prison operator will pay $1.3 million to settle complaints from 21 female employees who claimed they suffered harassment from male supervisors and colleagues ranging from sexually explicit comments to rape.

A female officer complained a male co-worker sexually harassed her and that after she complained, she was reassigned to an isolated location of the medium-security Crowley County Correctional Facility where she was raped by the man she complained about, according to the federal lawsuit.

The suit, filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, also accused a chief of security at the prison of forcing a female correctional officer to have sex with him so she could keep her job.
Female employees also accused their male counterparts of openly viewing pornography and making demeaning sexual jokes about them.

The EEOC sued Corrections Corporation of America and Dominion Correctional Services on behalf of the female employees in 2006. Although a settlement was reached, the defendants did not admit liability. Dominion is no longer operating prisons and the company could not be reached for comment.
"CCA settled the claim to avoid the time, expense, and uncertainties of continued litigation and trial," said a statement issued by that company.

CCA assumed control of the prison in January 2003 from Dominion and claims that a "substantial number" of the more serious allegations occurred under Dominion's operation. "Of the 21 individuals alleging discriminatory conduct, eight were never CCA employees, but were employed solely by Dominion," the statement said. "Moreover, although seven of the 21 individuals were employed by both CCA and Dominion, the majority of their claims also related to events that allegedly occurred before CCA began operating the facility."

EEOC attorney Rita Byrnes Kittle said some of the employees accused of sexual harassment over the years have resigned, but some are still working at the prison.  Guadalupe Gonzales, the 39-year-old former employee accused of rape in 2002, was convicted in 2005 of felony sexual assault. He was sentenced to four years of probation and is registered as a sex offender.

As part of the settlement agreement, Dominion cannot operate a prison in Colorado for three years. CCA must have sexual harassment training conducted by an outside expert for the next three years and have a toll-free number available for employees to call to report sexual harassment.


Anonymous said...

This is all great but the outside expert to give training needs to have a name and a resume. All sounds good but i want to tell all that under Colorado DOC regulations all guards, officers are supposed to have had training yet there are some 20 cases of rape and sexual assualt that has happened at DWCF, (state operated) that goes on. The courts string the cases along and dismiss them for frivilous reasons. Using statute of limitations is a good one. How is an inmate to get there cases heard within time frames when incarcerated?? Judge Boland is the one that seems to be doing the favors for DOC of dismissing serious rape charges for frivilous reasons. He needs to be replaced. That would be a beginning.djw

tracy freeman said...

A toll free vanity number will increase response rates—ads with vanity numbers can generate as much as a 600% increase in responses. Vanity numbers are just simply easier to recall—in fact, studies show they are 14 times easier to remember. Thats what I did and I went with http://www.tollfreenumber.org, they did all the work for me. That hardly ever happens so i took advantage of it.

Anonymous said...

Fellow Anonymous poster: this isn't about sexual assault of inmates. It is sexual harassment in the workplace. And yes, it may be semantics, but I think there's a difference. None of this has to do with sexually assaulting inmates.

Anonymous said...

Sir or mam, I knew this was among the hired help, however if it were happening amongst the help you out to go interview some of the inmates. What it shows is it happens to the female guards as well. What was the jerks name?? Gonzales, isnt that mexican. Why are there so many Mexicans working in the prisons of Colorado?
What it shows is that the guards hired by DOC for some reason seem to not be able to keep there zippers up and also it seems most are HISPANIC. I believe if you will check back to Zavaras's predesesor you will find he wrote a regulation that it was okay for DOC to hire felons.
I really think that it should be a number one priority to go thru the personel files of DOC employee's, and check them all out. Also the head of prisons, Mr. Golder and take a look at his record? djw

Anonymous said...


djw. Good points.


Anonymous said...

From what I understand...the female employee didn't have a problem with the guard's pants being down until her husband found out about it.