NEW YORK (AP) — A lawsuit claims sexual abuse and harassment of women in New York prisons is allowed to persist and flourish and the state's "zero tolerance" policy is a sham.
The lawsuit filed Thursday in Manhattan federal court asks a judge to force the state to prevent women from being sexually abused by male correction officers by upgrading the reporting, investigation and response to complaints of sexual misconduct.
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of six women as representative of an estimated 2,300 women in state custody.
Gannett reports that the women in the complaint were housed at two Westchester County prisons, Bedford Hills and Taconic, and at the Albion Correctional Facility in Orleans County in western New York.
Veronica Vela at The Legal Aid Society's Prisoners' Rights Project says the state has long failed to take steps it knows would reduce risks for women in prisons.
A prisons spokesman says the department takes all sex abuse allegations seriously but doesn't comment on litigation.