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October 21, 2014 / Shauna Madison

Transgender Inmate Fails To Prove Jail Ignored Sexual Assault Risks

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On December 7, 2012 D.B., a transgender inmate housed at Orange County Jail, filed a lawsuit against Orange County and Orange County Jail officials for the sexual assault she endured as a result of being housed with another inmate rather than in protective custody. D.B. is a male-to-female transgender individual who was “assigned female at birth” but identifies as a male and has undergone various procedures, including breast and cheek augmentation.

Despite D.B.’s status as a transgender inmate, fear of being housed with other inmates, and evidence that transgender inmates are thirteen times more likely to face sexual assault in prison than non-transgender inmates, Orange County Jail housed D.B. with another inmate. As a result of her placement, D.B. was sexually assaulted on December 8, 2009. After the assault, D.B. filed a lawsuit against the jail seeking to prove a violation of her Eight Amendment rights as well as to hold them responsible for the assault. However, on September 18, 2014, a federal judge dismissed this case.

The judge held that D.B. “failed to produce evidence from which a reasonable factfinder could determine that Orange County was deliberately indifferent to the risk of sexual assault faced by transgender inmates.” In ruling against D.B., the judge also noted evidence that simply stating there had been prior incidents of sexual assault to transgender inmates at Orange County Jail was too vague to support D.B.’s assertions that the Defendant’s deliberately ignored the risks.

If you or someone you know has experienced what you believe is a violation of your constitutional rights, you may be entitled to relief. Please call Khorrami Boucher, LLP for a confidential consultation.

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