Former inmates sue Idaho jail
Published: April 5,2012
A group of former inmates have filed a federal lawsuit against a county jail in south-central Idaho, saying they were sexually harassed and assaulted during a strip search last January.
The lawsuit was filed late last month in U.S. District Court against Twin Falls County Sheriff Tom Carter, jail administrator Douglas Hughes and several deputies, the Times-News reported April 5.
The three former inmates — Frank Gorrell, Timothy Harvell and Jonathan Guidi — allege they were among 11 men housed in the 100 block of the jail in January 2011 when they were sent to the recreation room while their cells were searched.
Each of the men were patted down before being escorted into the recreation room and about an hour later, deputies began a group strip search, according to the complaint filed March 26.
“All 11 men were crammed into a corner and forced to strip naked and line up in such a small space that they were touching,” the complaint said.
The men were told to turn around and squat, which placed them so close that they were directly in front of another man’s genitals, according to the complaint.
When the men complained about the search conditions, the lawsuit alleges deputy Virgil Adam responded: “You don’t have any rights because you are in my jail.”
Carter and staff at the jail declined to comment on the lawsuit April 4, saying they had not yet been served a copy of the complaint.
After the search, the men claim they were taken back to their cell block, lined up against a wall, and searched again. In the lawsuit, the men allege they were aggressively grabbed in the area of their genitals.
The suit alleges jail officials “used excessive force on Plaintiffs, sexually harassed them and displayed deliberate indifference to their condition, in violation of their rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth and 14th amendments to the United States Constitution.”
The men are seeking a jury trial and are requesting compensatory damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish and humiliation.
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