ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico civil rights group has filed its second lawsuit this year on behalf of an inmate who has reported being sexually abused behind bars. The ACLU said it has plans to move forward with more lawsuits to send a message to the state corrections department.
“We’re hoping to bring awareness to the problem of corrections officers preying on women in vulnerable positions,” said Leon Howard, the legal director for the ACLU.
The New Mexico ACLU is now suing an employee at the Springer Correctional Center who a former inmate says used his power as her supervisor to sexually abuse her for months.
This lawsuit claims the employee who’s not charged according to online court records, grabbed the inmate from behind, and forced her to show him her breasts, among other things.
It also says he threatened to write her up or take away her good-time credits if she refused. The ACLU says these allegations go beyond he said she said.
“She showed symptoms of someone who was sexually assaulted. She lost over 30 pounds,” said Howard.
It’s unclear why the inmate is behind bars in the first place.
This is the ACLU’s second lawsuit this year against New Mexico correctional officers accused of sexually abusing incarcerated women.
Something the civil liberties group says it plans to continue until the corrections department holds its officers accountable.
The New Mexico Corrections Department says they do take these reports seriously, saying they perform a thorough investigation each time an allegation is made.
Ever since this accusation, the ACLU says other women have come forward with similar allegations against the same employee. The state corrections department says he still has a job.