Lawsuit: Rikers Island Guards Raped, Beat Inmates

Seven correction officers at Rikers Island raped and sexually abused female inmates over the course of two years, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the Legal Aid Society on Tuesday.

Two of the female inmates were in pre-trial custody, and allege they were repeatedly assaulted by an officer who threatened them with punishment if they resisted and/or reported him, the lawsuit said.

William Gibney is an attorney with the Legal Aid Society. He said there is credible evidence to back up the inmates’ claims including: clothing from one woman that contained DNA material from an officer proving a sex act took place. Another case deals with an inmate who became pregnant as a result of the assaults.

“We are seeking an injunction requiring the city and the Department of Correction to take all necessary steps to prevent women in their custody from being raped and sexually abused by correction officers,” Gibney told NBC New York.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Correction issued the following statement:

“We do not comment on pending litigation. Speaking generally, DOC has a zero tolerance policy with regard to sexual abuse and assault, and there is no place at DOC for the mistreatment of any inmate.”

The rapes took place in an inmate’s cell or the “officers’ station,” the complaint alleges.