The Arizona Attorney General’s office is demanding that a lawsuit brought by a teacher who was raped by a convicted sex offender in an unguarded prison classroom be dropped, The Arizona Republic reports.
According to the teacher’s attorney, she had been administering a test to seven inmates at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Eyman in a room that was not monitored by a close-circuit camera. She had been handed a radio and told to call for help if there was any trouble — but the radio had been tuned to a channel that the guards did not use.
Six of the inmates finished the test early, leaving the woman alone in the room with 20-year-old Jacob Harvey, who had been sentenced a year earlier to 30 years in prison for beating and raping of a Glendale woman in front of her own child.
According to the lawsuit, Harvey grabbed her from behind and choked her to ground before stabbing her repeatedly in the head with a pen. He then tore her clothes off and raped her.
The woman not only screamed for help, but tried to call for assistance on the radio she had been handed by the guards.
Her attorney, Scott Zwillinger, wrote that “[a]s a result of the brutal rape and assault, [the woman] suffered physical injuries, great fear for her life and well-being and severe and traumatic emotional distress with which she continues to struggle to this day.”
However, in the motion to dismiss, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Weisbard wrote that “[p]laintiff is an [Arizona Department of Corrections] employee who routinely worked at the prison complex. By being placed in a classroom at the complex, the officers were not placing Plaintiff in any type of situation that she would not normally face. The risk of harm, including assault, always existed at a prison like Eyman.”
“Plaintiff wants to create an artificial impression that the ADOC officers knew she was in danger but she did not know,” he also wrote. “It makes no sense. Of course, if Plaintiff did appreciate the danger of her situation, as an employee, she could have done something about it.”