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Archive for Saturday, October 9, 1999

SUIT FILED IN ALLEGED JAIL RAPE

October 9, 1999

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The Douglas County sheriff declined to discuss the suit on Friday but in May said, "There was an error in there somewhere."

A Lawrence woman who said she was raped at the Douglas County Jail is suing county officials, including Sheriff Loren Anderson, for more than $75,000.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., claims the woman, 24 years old at the time, was "sexually assaulted and physically battered" April 18 by a male prisoner who entered the woman's unlocked holding cell.

The woman, identified in court papers only as "K.S." had been arrested, along with her husband, during a domestic dispute. A door to a "dress-out room," where inmates change from street clothes to jail clothes, was left unlocked, the suit says.

Anderson said Friday he hadn't seen the lawsuit and declined to discuss specific allegations.

But in May the sheriff said, "There was an error in there somewhere" and "The door was supposed to be locked. I can't talk a whole lot about it, but two people got together and they weren't supposed to."

After an internal investigation into the alleged sexual assault, Anderson in June said he disciplined two jailers.

Though the sheriff declined to go into detail at that time about the incident, he said four jailers were working when the alleged assault took place.

The investigation cleared one of the four jailers, and another jailer resigned before the conclusion of the investigation for unrelated reasons, Anderson said. The sheriff disciplined the other two officers, though he declined to say how.

In addition to naming Anderson and the Douglas County Commission as defendants, the lawsuit also names Paula Wunder, Randy Smith, Wes Stewart and Jeremy Kline -- all employees of the jail at the time -- as defendants.

Jerry Levy, the Lawrence attorney who filed the lawsuit on the woman's behalf, said neither his client nor the alleged attacker was charged after their arrests.

"I have a suspicion that if they prosecuted him, they'd have to admit he assaulted her in the jail," Levy said Friday afternoon.

-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is ckoger@ljworld.com.

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