(Daily Caller News Foundation) – A male inmate who was reportedly instructed to identify as “transgender” by prison officials allegedly raped a female inmate at a New York City correctional facility on Rikers Island, according to a new lawsuit.
The plaintiff in the case, identified by a pseudonym “Rose Doe,” alleged that she was raped by a male inmate in “protective custody” at the Rose M. Singer Center, a correctional facility for women on Rikers Island, on April 7, 2022, according to her initial complaint. Doe claims that a prison official instructed the male inmate to identify as “transgender” so that he could stay in the dorms where he would have “access to female inmates.”
“We have some accounts from inside the prison that as the [transfer] request was being made…the [DOC] officer said something along the lines of ‘if you want to go into the women’s facility, all you have to do is say you’re trans,” said Nicholas Liakas, an attorney who is representing the plaintiff, to the New York Post. “The perpetrator informed [a transgender inmate] that he was not transgender, or gay, but that he was just there ‘to get pussy,’” reads the complaint.
The male “perpetrator” allegedly stared at Doe on April 6, 2022, “while he masturbated” and once “exited the [bathroom] stall with his erect penis exposed and groped [her] buttocks,” according to the complaint. A guard who was present allegedly “did nothing except yell” for the inmate to leave the bathroom.
The alleged act of rape occurred shortly after the bathroom incident “while [Doe] was sleeping in her bed,” the complaint reads. “The Perpetrator, took the opportunity to sexually assault [Doe] again. . . .pull[ing] down her pants while she was sleeping and begin[ing] to rape her.”
“We cannot comment on specifics of this lawsuit as it is active litigation,” said Latima Johnson, a spokesperson for the New York City Department of Correction (DOC).
Apart from the inmate, the plaintiff has named New York City Corrections Department officers Jennifer Cruz and Rashida King as defendants, along with the City of New York. The complaint argues that the officers were negligent in their duties, with Cruz allegedly telling the plaintiff “I don’t give a fuck,” about their mistreatment.
Doe claims that she, later, faced retaliation from corrections officers for reporting her sexual assault, with staff failing to provide her with medical treatment and moving her to the general population. Investigators for the facility later concluded that there was “no evidence” to rule on the incident.
The complaint notes that the perpetrator was “being investigated for at least five prior the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) incidents before he was moved into Plaintiff’s dorm.” It also notes that “he was being investigated for his potential involvement in a prostitution ring operating within Rikers Island that involved staff and inmates.”
The complaint was filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York for Bronx County, which has jurisdiction over Rikers Island. Doe has used a pseudonym because of a criminal case pending against her, while the inmate has not been charged with rape.
“If an individual going through intake at a men’s facility identifies as [Transgender, Non-Binary, and Intersex], that individual is afforded the opportunity to apply for the [Special Considerations Unit] and/or gender-aligned housing and transferred to [Rose M. Singer Center] to complete the intake process,” a New York City DOC spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Final housing determinations are made on a case-by-case basis in a manner that accounts for an individual’s health and safety while addressing any management or security concerns.”
Democratic Mayor Eric Adams of New York City did not immediately respond to a request for comment.