Civil Case Law - Tenth Circuit

Hostetler v. Green , 323 F.App’x. 653 (10th Cir. 2009): A female pre-trial detainee held in a county jail was raped by a male inmate, who had been allowed to enter her cell by a county jailer.  The court found the female detainee had a Fourteenth Amendment claim against the jailer for deliberate indifference, as his violation of the policy prohibiting male inmate’s from entering female inmate’s cells, permitted the inference that the jailer had knowledge of the risk presented by allowing the male inmate into the female inmate’s cell.

Tafoya v. Salazar , 516 F.3d 912 (10th Cir. 2008): Female inmate in a county jail was sexually assaulted by a male correctional officer.  The court found the sheriff was aware of conditions that were substantially likely to result in sexual assault.  The sheriff had previously been the subject of three civil suits for sexual assault, after which the sheriff instilled a “no contact” policy, conducted trainings, and installed security cameras.  The court found that the sheriff’s remedial measures were not enough, and found he was liable for the sexual assault committed by the correctional officer.

Rhoten v. Werholtz , 243 F.App’x. 364 (10th Cir. 2007): Male inmate claimed a male correctional officer “slammed him against the wall, squeezed his nipples real hard, squeezed his buttocks, and pulled on his testicles real hard causing him a great deal of discomfort and pain.”  The court found the inmate failed to state an Eighth Amendment violation.

Gonzales v. Martinez, 403 F.3d 1179 (10th Cir. 2005):  The court found that a sheriff could be held liable for deliberate indifference under the Eighth Amendment for the actions of male correctional officers. Evidence of prior physical assaults, lapses in jail security, and sexual harassment was enough to find a reasonable inference that the sheriff was aware of the risk of sexual assault to female inmates.

Smith v. Cochran , 339 F.3d 1205 (10th Cir. 2003): Male state license examiner raped female prisoner while she was out on work release.  The Court found this was a violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Joseph v. U.S. Fed. Bureau of Prisons , 232 F.3d 901 (10th Cir. 2000):  Female correctional official touched male inmate several times in a suggestive manner and exposed her breasts.  The court found that there was no Eighth Amendment violation as the harm the inmate suffered was not objectively, sufficiently serious.

Hobock v. Grant County , 216 F.3d 1087 (10th Cir. 2000): A male juvenile detainee was housed in a cellblock with violent minors.  On one occasion they severely beat the detainee, and on a second occasion, he was forced to engage in fellatio in his cell. Two detention officers knew the inmate was having difficulty with fellow inmates, and the video camera in his cell was not operating properly when the fellatio occurred.  The court allowed the suit to proceed, finding that the county and individual officers were not entitled to immunity.

Adkins v. Rodriguez , 59 F.3d 1034 (10th Cir. 1995):  A male correctional officer made sexually suggestive verbal comments to a female inmate about her body, his own sexuality, and his sexual encounters.  The court found that the officer’s sexual harassment of this inmate, while reprehensible, was not in violation of the inmate's Eighth Amendment rights.

Hovater v. Robinson , 1 F.3d 1063 (10th Cir. 1993): A female inmate was sexually assaulted by a male correctional officer while he escorted her in the building by himself, in violation of a prison policy requiring a female inmate to be escorted by either a female officer or two male officers.  The court found the prison officials could not be held liable for the assault, as the risk to inmate safety posed by a male correctional officer having sole custody of a female inmate was no enough to create an Eighth Amendment violation.

Ramos v. Lamm , 639 F.2d 559 (10th Cir. 1980):  The court found that inmates and correctional staff were living in constant fear of violent and sexual attacks, due in part to the “blind spots” inherent in the building layout, and inadequate levels of staffing.  The court found the inmates were deprived of their constitutional right to be reasonably protected from sexual assault from other inmates.

Young v. Brock , 2012 WL 385494 (D. Colo. Feb. 7, 2012):  Male pre-trial detainee was groped by a male correctional officer during a pat-down search. The court found that a single, isolated incident was not enough to state a claim under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Broadus v. Timme , 2012 WL 639310 (D. Colo. Jan. 30, 2012): Male inmate claimed that male correctional officer subjected him to constant sexual abuse, and that on several occasions the officer fondled the inmate’s genitals and buttocks, and ground his genital’s on the inmate’s backside.  The court found that the inmate’s allegations were conclusory, and dismissed the claim.

Frierson v. Roberts , 2011 WL 3611484 (D. Kan. Aug. 17, 2011): Male inmate alleged that male correctional officer conducted improper pat down searches on two occasions, by cupping the inmate’s penis with his open palm.  The court found this was not sufficient to state a claim.

Fleetwood v. Werholtz , 2011 WL 1527261 (D. Kan. Apr. 20, 2011) A male correctional officer drove a female inmate offsite to her work assignment.  The officer grabbed her breasts and requested oral sex, which the inmate felt she could not refuse.  The court found this constituted an Eighth Amendment claim against the individual officer, but dismissed the claims against other prison officials, for the inmate’s failure to plead individual states of mind and actions for each defendant. 

Price v. Suarez , 2011 WL 635225 (D. Utah Feb. 11, 2011): Two female inmates in a county jail claimed they were sexually assaulted by a male correctional officer.  The court found that neither the sheriff nor the county could be held liable, as the inmates did not provide any evidence the jail conducted a deficient training, and nothing in the correctional officer’s background would have put the jail on notice that the officer was likely to sexually assault inmates. 

Martin v. Creek County Jail , 2010 WL 4683852 (N.D. Okla. Nov. 12, 2010):  Male inmate claimed a male correctional officer used the antenna from his C.B. radio and ran it down the inmate’s buttocks.  The court found there was no Eighth Amendment violation, as it was an isolated incident that did not result in physical injury.

Hall v. Terrell , 648 F. Supp. 2d 1229 (D. Colo. 2009):  A male correctional officer routinely sexually assaulted and raped a female inmate.  The inmate was awarded $354,070.41 in compensatory and $1,000,000 in punitive damages against the individual officer.

C.J.W. By & Through L.W. v. State , 253 Kan. 1, 853 P.2d 4 (1993): A juvenile inmate was sexually assaulted by another juvenile inmate.  The inmate brought suit under the state’s Torts Claims Act.  The Supreme Court of Kansas held that the state owed a duty to protect the juvenile, and was not immune from liability.