Prisoner Sexual Abuse at Bayview Correctional Facility Lawyer
Former Bayview Correctional Facility correctional officer James Ford Jr., after admitting that he had sexually abused an inmate 11 times, was indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney's office and pleaded guilty to two counts rape in the third degree. He was sentenced to serve three years in prison. Sadly, James Ford was not the only correctional officer to sexually abuse prisoners at Bayview Correctional Facility. Nor was his rape of that one inmate the only time he raped inmates. Other inmates accused him of rape, but prison officials did nothing. Just because someone was convicted of a crime and ended up serving time at Bayview Correctional Facility does not mean that prison officials and correctional officers have the right to abuse them sexually or otherwise. They do not. If they do sexual abuse inmates, they would have committed a criminal act and can face civil liability. If you suffered prisoner sexual abuse at Bayview Correctional Facility, contact an experienced sexual abuse lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates. With over two decades of experience, we can help you pursue compensation for your physical and emotional injuries.Bayview Correctional Facility
Bayview Correctional Facility has been closed since 2012. Although there was a culture at the medium security prison for women that tolerated sexual abuse of inmates, that’s not the reason it closed. Bayview closed because of the extensive damage the facility sustained in 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy. However, for many inmates, the memory of the sexual abuse suffered there at the hands of correctional officers remains vivid.Prisoner Sexual Abuse
Under New York Penal Code, it is a crime for a correctional officer or prison official to have sex with inmates. Prisoners cannot legally consent to it. Thus, if a correctional officer has sex with an inmate, they would have committed the crime of rape in the third degree, a non-violent class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.05. If charged and convicted, they could be sentenced to prison.
However, the consequences of having sex with an inmate can involve more than criminal penalties. There can also be civil penalties by way of a civil lawsuit by the victim. When it comes to a criminal act such as assault, a victim can sue the perpetrator to recover damages. In the case of Bayview, if James Ford, Jr. had raped one inmate one time, arguably, liability aside from Ford would be limited. However, in the Ford’s case, the problem was much more than one sexual assault against one inmate.
With Bayview, prison officials were aware of the widespread sexual abuse. In fact, there was evidence that on at least on occasion Ford committed the sexual abuse in front of a camera and actually smiled at the camera. He raped an inmate multiple times in plain view of other inmates. Furthermore, Ford was not the only correctional officer at Bayview to abuse inmates. There was evidence that sexual abuse by correctional officers was routine. Thus, liability for sexual abuse at Bayview would likely extend beyond the abuser to their supervisors as well as to the government entity responsible for the facility.Statute of Limitations
Even though Bayview has been closed since 2012 and the 3-year statute of limitations has expired for those abused while living at Bayview, a law that was passed in 2022 permitting lawsuits despite the statute of limitations. Under the Adult Survivors Act, adult survivors of sexual abuse have a one-year window to initiate legal action based on being the victim of prison sexual abuse at Bayview Correctional Facility. The one-year lookback window begins on November 24, 2022 and ends on November 23, 2023.The law not only permits victims to file claims against the person who committed the sexual abuse, but also permits victims to file claims against institutions such as Bayview Correctional Facility for negligent or intentional acts as well. To be eligible to take advantage of the one-year window under the Adult Survivors Act, the victim must meet the following criteria:
- They must have been an inmate at Bayview Correctional Facility
- They must have been the victim of sexual abuse while incarcerated at Bayview Correctional Facility when they were 18 years old or older
- The statute of limitations that applied to civil action must have expired
Note that the Adult Survivors Act does not only apply to victims who were inmates at Bayview Correctional Facility. It applies to victims who were inmates at other correctional facilities as well as those who were victimized elsewhere.
To learn the amount of compensation to which you may be entitled, contact an experienced sexual abuse attorney in New York. The specific amount of damages varies from case to case. However, the damages would be based on the physical injuries suffered by the victim as well as the psychological damage. Furthermore, the fact that prison officials may have been aware of the abuse and failed to protect victims from known sexual predators in their employ will be a factor that the court considers when determining liability and assessing damages.Stephen Bilkis & Associates Can Help
At Stephen Bilkis & Associates, we believe that sexual abuse is never OK. We are here to help former inmates at Bayview Correctional Facility who were sexually abused get justice. If you were a victim of prisoner sexual abuse at Bayview Correctional Facility, it is critical that you contact us immediately. Contact an experienced sexual abuse attorney serving New York at Stephen Bilkis & Associates can at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent injured victims in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Long Island, and Westchester County.