Female inmates raped when male detainees bribed guard to let them access restricted area: lawsuit

Eight women have filed a lawsuit against Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel and current and former Clark County Jail officers, saying they were subjected to a "night of terror" when on Oct. 23, 2021, jail officer David Lowe gave two male detainees keys to their section of the Indiana jail they were incarcerated in, in exchange for $1,000, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

“Numerous male detainees used the keys obtained from Lowe to enter Pods 4(E) and 4(F), where they raped, assaulted, harassed, threatened and intimidated the plaintiffs in this lawsuit, and other women, for several hours, resulting in significant physical and emotional injuries,” the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court of the Southern District of Indiana says.

The men also threatened to harm the women if they pressed the emergency call button, according to the lawsuit. The woman say no one came to their aid throughout the entire ordeal, despite the incident being entirely viewable on security video.

Lowe was fired and charged with trafficking with an inmate, aiding escape and official misconduct. Lowe reportedly admitted to accepting the bribe and allowing inmates to access restricted areas of the jail. His trial is scheduled for September.

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A civil rights lawsuit was also filed in June by 20 women against Noel, Lowe and other unnamed jail officers.

“Women were harassed, sexually assaulted, threatened and completely terrified,” Bart Betteau, an attorney for one of the plaintiffs, told WTHR. “When I met with each and every one of these women, and they broke down repeatedly, you get the impression, the understanding of what these women went through.”

Maples said in the previous lawsuit that the rape claims were investigated internally and no rape charges have been filed.

“The violation of the Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights was the result not only of a single bad actor, Lowe, but also due to a systemic failure on behalf of the Clark County Sheriff who failed to properly staff the jail, train the jail officers, and supervise the jail officers to make sure they maintained adequate security at the jail,” the current lawsuit states.