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Aggressive Lawyers for the Seriously Injured

Sexual Assault on Riker’s Island

A prison inmate in Rikers Island talking with his lawyer

In the last decade, many prisoners have accused guards of sexual assault in Rikers Island. In some cases, inmates have accused guards of committing sexual assault against them. In other cases, staff shortages result in inmates being in unsafe environments where sexual assaults are more likely to occur.

Rikers Island has a long history of inmates suffering inhumane treatment, assault, and sexual assault of inmates. If you are one of the hundreds of women or men who have been the victims of sexual assault in Rikers Island, it’s crucial that you reach out to an experienced attorney. Contact Michael LoGiudice, LLP, today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about your legal options.

Sexual Assault Is Far Too Common on Riker’s Island

Inmate abuse, including sexual assault, in Rikers Island and other New York prisons, has become so rampant and egregious that human rights organizations have called upon the state to address the problem. Rikers Island has a persistent and widespread pattern of degrading, cruel, and sometimes life-threatening practices. 

Rikers Island is also chronically understaffed, making conditions unsafe for inmates. When an inmate is sexually assaulted, there may not be enough staff members to stop the attack. In other cases, staff members choose to ignore the assault entirely. Unfortunately, many sexual assaults happen at the hands of the guards themselves as well.

Injuries Caused By Rape and Sexual Abuse on Riker’s Island

In addition to the severe mental and emotional anguish that comes from experiencing sexual assault, prisoners can also suffer physical injuries. Both male and female inmates far too often become victims of sexual abuse and rape in prison. Sexual abuse and rape increase the spread of dangerous STDs, including HIV and AIDS, among the prison population.

Correctional officers and other officials have been known to physically force or coerce male and female inmates to perform sexual acts, or they may refuse to protect inmates from being sexually assaulted by other prisoners. The psychological damage that can persist after sexual assault can be even more damaging than an inmate’s physical injuries.

Rikers Island also has a reputation for not adequately and effectively treating inmates’ medical conditions and injuries. Inmates who are sexually assaulted may be severely beaten, stomped, or choked during the assault, resulting in the following types of physical injuries:

  • Broken ribs
  • Broken jaws
  • Injuries from strangulation
  • STDs, including HIV
  • Broken teeth
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Psychological injuries, including “Rape Trauma Syndrome”
  • Internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord injuries 
  • Perforated eardrums

The Adult Survivors Act

Discussing sexual assault can be excruciatingly painful for victims. Inmates of Riker’s Island may not feel comfortable or safe publicly making claims related to sexual assault. Until recently, victims could not take legal action if the statute of limitation had already passed. However, New York passed the Adult Survivors Act in 2022, which gives sexual assault victims a one-time opportunity to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations for most criminal cases has expired. 

The legislators who passed the adult survivors act anticipated that current or former inmates would sue in sexual assault cases. Inmates who suffered abuse, mistreatment, and sexual assault years ago can now pursue compensation. 

Additionally, the law ensures that there is no limit, or cap, on how much the state can pay to settle these types of lawsuits. The money to settle these cases will come from the state’s budget. The law went into effect on November 24th, 2022. If you have been sexually assaulted at Rikers Island in the 1980s or 1990s, the Adult Survivors Act gives you a right to pursue a claim against the State Corrections Department.

What to Do If You Were a Riker’s Island Sexual Assault Survivor

There are roughly 100,000 inmates in New York prisons. Every day prisoners throughout the state, including those in Rikers Island, experience violence, mistreatment, sexual abuse, isolation, verbal abuse, and sexual assault. Many victims are understandably reluctant to come forward and make a claim because they fear the correctional officers may retaliate against them. It’s important to remember that sexual assault against an inmate is illegal, and so is retaliation for reporting that sexual assault.

If you’ve been the victim of sexual assault in Rikers Island, it’s important that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help protect you against illegal retaliation against you for reporting the wrongdoing. When you work with attorney Michael LoGiudice, you can rest assured that he will protect your rights and well-being while actively working to hold the correctional officers, staff members, or any other at-fault party accountable for their wrongdoing.

Pursuing Compensation After Surviving a Sexual Assault

You still have rights as an inmate in Rikers Island. Correction officers have a legal duty to protect inmates stripped of the means to protect themselves. The first step in pursuing compensation is identifying which party or parties are liable for your injuries. Your legal cause of action will depend on your unique situation and the facts surrounding the sexual assault. One or more of the following causes of action may apply to your case:

  • Civil claims for assault, sexual assault, or assault and battery
  • Violation of your civil rights
  • Negligent supervision of prison personnel
  • Negligent security
  • Failure to terminate staff who are known to abuse inmates
  • Failure to screen staff properly in the hiring process

Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to pursue a civil lawsuit against the guard, assailant, or the prison itself. New York prosecutors may also decide to press criminal charges against the aggressor. After carefully reviewing the facts in your case, attorney Michael LoGiudice will advise you on what type of legal plan may be the best option for you to pursue compensation.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with an Experienced Attorney

If you are one of the many inmates who have survived sexual assault in Rikers Island, you are not alone. An attorney can help you understand your legal options, including bringing a lawsuit against Rikers Island for compensation. Attorney Michael LoGiudice, LLP has a proven track record of successfully holding Rikers Island officials, guards, and other at-fault parties accountable. Contact Michael LoGiudice, LLP, as soon as possible to schedule your free case evaluation.

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