A female former inmate who was housed in New York City’s Rikers Island jail has launched a suit against the city after claiming she was "repeatedly sexually assaulted" by a biological male inmate who claimed to be transgender and was housed in the women’s section.
Allegations in the suit accuse Riker's Island staff of instructing the man to identify as trans so he could gain access to women and lure them into a prostitution ring that the suit states staff were familiar with.
The lawsuit, brought forth by the inmate only known as Rose Doe, was filed at the Bronx Supreme Court in November of 2023, Reduxx reports.
Rose Doe was housed at the Rose M Singer Center, which is the island’s only women’s facility. Around December of 2021, a male inmate was transferred into her unit after identifying as a woman.
A policy adopted by the city’s Department of Corrections states that transgender inmates can be housed based on their self-identified gender identity, unless the inmate is required to have alternative housing after the outcome of a federally required safety assessment or the preferences of the inmate.
The suit states that department records show the biological male was being investigated for alleged involvement in a prostitution ring operating on the island at the time the inmate was transferred to the women’s facility.
The alleged prostitution ring involved both staff and inmates, and the department was reportedly aware that the male inmate’s move to women’s housing was likely an attempt to get female inmates into the ring.
The lawsuit alleges that multiple department officials used the city’s transgender inmate policy to ensure the male inmate could remain in the female housing.
The male inmate was reportedly "instructed" to claim a transgender identity to move into the women’s facility where there was easy access to females.
On April 6, 2022, Rose Doe was sexually assaulted by the male inmate, just months after being moved to the women’s facility. Doe also alleged she saw the male inmate persuade a mentally ill female inmate into performing sexual acts.
The lawsuit said that the biological male inmate arrived in the women’s facility with a "full beard," and reportedly admitted frequently that he was not in fact transgender.
The male inmate reportedly began openly stating that he was "straight and not trans and was there to have sex with women" within hours of his arrival to the women’s facility.
Rose Doe said she was not offered any medical treatment, mental health services, HIV post-exposure prophylaxis, or other assistance after the sexual assault, and said she was not given timely access to a rape kit.
The violations of New York State Public Health Law are alleged in the lawsuit to have been "born of a desire and/or conspiracy to cover-up and destroy evidence of the sexual assaults that [staff] knew had taken place."
The Rose M Singer facility has come under fire before for housing biological male inmates alongside females.
In April 2022, trans-identified male inmate Ramel Blount, also known as Diamond Blount, was sentenced to seven years in prison after raping a female inmate in the bathroom. Blount will also be required to register as a sex offender.
Blount pleaded guilty to Attempted Rape in the first degree.
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