Friday, November 21, 2008

Female inmate claims rape

Staff Writer

DAYTONA BEACH -- A woman who spent a night at the county correctional facility says she was raped by one or more female corrections officers, a sheriff's incident report shows.

The woman, arrested for misdemeanor retail theft, is not being identified because it is a sexual assault complaint. She was booked into the Volusia County Correctional Facility the night of Nov. 4, but returned to the jail Nov. 11 to file a formal complaint against the officers, the incident report shows.

According to the incident report, after her 10:45 p.m. booking and cell assignment, the woman, who said she has gestational diabetes, complained of low blood sugar and asked to be taken to the jail infirmary, the report states. But her request was ignored, and she was taken to her cell.

A few minutes later, the woman felt dizzy and fell on the floor of her cell, the report shows. She said four officers entered her dormitory and began slapping her and pulling her hair.

At that point, the officers took her to the medical unit and staff there checked on her, then proclaimed the woman was "faking it," the report states.

Instead of being escorted back to her cell, however, the woman said she was taken to another area of the jail and placed in a suicide-watch cell by the officers.

The officers ordered her to disrobe for a strip search, the report states. Once she did that, the woman said one of the officers pinned her legs down, while a second officer took her underwear off and sexually battered the woman with her hand, the report shows.

While that was going on, the woman said yet another officer "aggressively" groped her breasts to the point of pain, the report shows.

A fourth officer stood in the cell and watched, the woman said in her complaint.

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office was called by jail officials because a criminal complaint was made, sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson said.

However, the criminal portion of the investigation has been turned over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Davidson said, because the complaints were filed against law enforcement officers. The FDLE also handles investigations concerning in-custody victims, Davidson said.

The county's Department of Corrections, meanwhile, will handle the internal affairs investigation of the officers, Volusia County spokesman Dave Byron said. The four officers have not been suspended from their posts while the investigations are under way.

Byron said there have been no such allegations at the correctional facility in the past year. He also said two other corrections officers are currently the focus of other internal affairs investigations in unrelated incidents.

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