The Rikers Island prison in New York City is home to a “pervasive culture of rape” where correction officers retaliate against inmates who report sexual abuse, a federal lawsuit alleges.
Seven male guards at Rikers’ all-female Rose M. Singer Center jail complex repeatedly raped female inmates over a two-year period, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by the Legal Aid Society in the Federal District Court in Manhattan.
Two female inmates allege they were “repeatedly raped and sexually abused” by correction officer Benny Santiago who warned they would be punished if they resisted or reported him, the lawsuit alleges.
“Correction officers and other staff know not only that women are regularly abused, but also which officers abuse which women, and when and where the abuse occurs,” says the suit.
“The guard’s actions are part of a pervasive culture of rape and other sexual abuse inside Rikers,” it said.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages as well as a court order requiring New York City’s Department of Correction to stem sexual abuse at the jail.