September 20—CLARK COUNTY—Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel has responded through his attorney to a judge’s request to provide factual evidence to support part of his defense claim in one of two civil lawsuits filed by 28 female inmates who claim to be victims of harassment and sex crimes in prison.
Noel cites the Prison Litigation Reform Act as a full defense against the plaintiff’s claims in the case; part of this law prohibits filing lawsuits based on jail terms unless the full requirement is met.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Debra McVicker Lynch responded to that defense, saying Noel provided no factual basis for the attrition defense, which is required.
Noel’s attorney goes into details about that defense in a response filed in federal court on Sept. 16.
According to the response, Noel’s attorney says 14 were no longer incarcerated at the Clark County Jail on July 5, the date the lawsuit was filed. Noel does not know if they were held elsewhere at the time.
The defense argues that this means that the exhaustion of administrative remedies requirement under the Prison Litigation Reform Act may apply to these plaintiffs, depending on their detention status on the date the complaint was filed.
Of those 14 plaintiffs, the courts said four of them had “never filed a complaint to exhaust its administrative remedies in relation to anything that happened on October 23 and 24, 2021.”
The response also states that two of the plaintiffs were incarcerated at the Clark County Jail on the filing date of the July 5 lawsuit, but have not filed any grievances about the alleged assaults. Another plaintiff was transferred to the Indiana Department of Corrections, where Noel believes she was still in custody on July 5. This person has not filed a complaint either.
The response lists three plaintiffs who did contact prison officials who may be related to the alleged attacks.
According to the response, a plaintiff filed a general inquiry into Clark County Jail’s kiosk system, which said, “Gronda, I need to talk to you or anyone else about the events of October 24. I’d like my attorney Mickey Webber to attend.” and thank you.”
The filing said an officer from the Clark County Jail was responding to that message.
“This is something that should be discussed with the investigator of the case or your attorney,” the statement said.
The defense argues that this request was a general investigation, which is a different category of kiosk requests than a complaint request.
“With regard to the complaints filed (the plaintiff), none of them related to the allegations of the plaintiffs’ complaint about the male detainees entering the housing units of the female detainees and allegedly harassing, mistreating or intimidating the plaintiff,” it said. lawyers.
Another plaintiff, who was released from prison in December 2021 but was back in custody at the time of the July 5 filing, filed for medical treatment but had no complaints about the charges in the lawsuit.
“However, she did file medical inquiries requesting medical treatment that she had been linked to the alleged assault committed by male inmates in the prison,” lawyers wrote. “Therefore, there is an issue as to whether (the plaintiff) exhausted its administrative remedies prior to filing the complaint.”
Another plaintiff filed a complaint about the Clark County Jail’s complaint system at the newsstand on October 27, 2021.
“(The plaintiff) did not specifically address what problem she had or what she was grieving,” the defense said. “The prison responded by telling her if she had a specific problem, resubmitting the complaint and they would address it. (The plaintiff) made no additional complaints regarding the allegations in the plaintiffs’ complaint.”
Twenty women in this lawsuit allege they were victims of sex crimes at the Clark County Jail on Oct. 24, 2021 after male inmates were given access to their pods.
Eight other women have filed a second lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana/US District Court, also alleging that they were victims of sex crimes as a result of the October 24, 2021 incident.
Two people are facing criminal charges in connection with these allegations. Former Clark County District Attorney David Lowe, who is charged with providing the key to inmates, and Henryville inmate Jordan Parker Sykes, who was an inmate at the time in prison, now face charges of theft and a crime.
By Tuesday afternoon, the judge had not yet responded to the submission of September 16.