- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

CHARLESTON, Mo. (AP) - A former inmate at the Mississippi County Detention Center filed a lawsuit claiming she was abused while pregnant and that abuse caused her to miscarry in December 2014.

The Southeast Missourian (https://bit.ly/1VzDEEt ) reported Mississippi County, former jail administrator Cory Hutcheson and six other detention center employees are named as defendants in Tara Rhodes’ lawsuit.

Tony Rothert with the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri is representing Rhodes. He said Rhodes pleaded for five days to get medical attention after she began leaking abdominal fluids, passing blood clots and cramping, but no one listened. The suit also claimed Rhodes was shackled and dragged from one room to another.

“This is something that needed medical attention, and the results were tragic,” Rothert said.

According to the lawsuit, Rhodes notified jail staffers about her situation on December 18, 2014, and they repeatedly ignored her. Five days later, she was driven about 240 miles to the Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic Correctional Center in Vandalia. Rhodes was then taken another 30 miles to a hospital in Mexico, Missouri. Court documents said that when she arrived, nothing could be done to save the baby. Rhodes was 19 weeks along.

The attorney representing Mississippi County could not be reached for comment

The ACLU recently filed a separate lawsuit on behalf of an inmate in Jackson County, who also was shackled, chained and transported hundreds of miles while pregnant.

“Leaving a pregnant woman in excruciating pain for days is the definition of cruel and unusual punishment,” Rothert said.

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Information from: Southeast Missourian, https://www.semissourian.com

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