- Associated Press - Thursday, August 22, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Three former inmates of a New Mexico prison were repeatedly sexually assaulted by guards and their complaints were met with indifference or retaliation, according to a lawsuit.

The women filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court over assaults they say occurred in a Springer, New Mexico, prison between 2016 and 2018, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports .

Guards forced the women to show their body parts and kiss each other and often touched the women and performed lewd acts in front of them, the lawsuit said.

One woman says a guard harassed her when she was in solitary confinement by turning the lights on every half hour to wake her up and made derogatory comments about her body.

When the women objected to the abuse or reported it, their complaint says, they lost jobs and privileges in the prison, or were threatened with segregation or loss of “good time” credit.

Corrections Department spokesman Ricardo Montoya declined comment, saying the department has not seen the lawsuit.

The lawsuit and another filed in July seek unspecified damages for civil rights violations and accuse high-ranking officials at the Springer facility of fostering an environment that normalizes sexual abuse.

Both suits also say the phone number posted at the women’s prison as the Prison Rape Elimination Act hotline, which the prison is required to post, is wrong or does not function.


Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.santafenewmexican.com

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