By Associated Press - Saturday, April 3, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A woman has filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Corrections and a former corrections officer for allegedly sexually assaulting her while he was transporting her as an inmate.

The former corrections officer, Randy A. Beehler, was also charged with two felonies for criminal sexual conduct, the Star Tribune reported. He pleaded guilty to one of the charges in March.

The woman, who filed the lawsuit in January, argues that the Department of Corrections was negligent in allowing a single male correctional officer to transport a female inmate alone. According to the lawsuit, Beehler allegedly coerced the woman to perform sexual favors in exchange for lunch at McDonald’s. Under Minnesota law, inmates cannot legally give consent to corrections officers.

The civil complaint states the woman “suffered severe emotion trauma and distress, shame, humiliation, embarrassment, and invasion of privacy.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections said that the department would not respond to pending litigation but that “the actions of this officer were contrary to our agency values, and we took immediate and decisive action in response to the report.”

The woman is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $50,000, as well as punitive damages and attorney’s fees.

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