Ex-prisoner Settles Sexual Assault Suit Against Nation's Largest Private Extradition Company
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 23, 2002
The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado (ACLU) announced today a settlement of a three-year-old lawsuit filed against TransCor America, the nation's largest private extradition company, on behalf of a female prisoner who was sexually assaulted by a TransCor guard in March, 1998, during a drive from Texas to Colorado.
"We are pleased that TransCor has agreed to settle this case by paying our client a substantial sum," said Janet Savage of Davis Graham & Stubbs, who litigated the case as an ACLU cooperating attorney.
"No women should ever have to endure what our client went through," added Cynthia Kok, who served as co-counsel for the ACLU. "And no amount of money can make up for it. But in this case it has been truly gratifying to work with a client who mustered up the courage to fight back, to hang in there through years of litigation, and now has something significant to show for it."
The lawsuit alleged that TransCor assigned an all-male crew for the extradition despite similar incidents, similar lawsuits, and a company policy that required the presence of at least one female guard.
At the time the lawsuit was filed, the ACLU's client was 43 years old, had been married to her husband for 19 years, and had four children. In 1997, after living for twenty years in Colorado and fifteen years in Fremont County, the couple moved to Texas. The following year, the ACLU's client was arrested on an old warrant on a minor charge from Fremont County — the only time she has ever been in trouble with the law. She voluntarily waived extradition, and Fremont County hired TransCor to transport her. The sexual assault, along with threats of retaliation if she reported the abuse, occurred during the five-day trip to Colorado.
After the ACLU's client arrived in Colorado, the staff at the Fremont County Jail recognized her obviously distraught condition and sought help for her. A therapist determined that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, a common consequence of such sexual assaults.
During the van's round-about trip to Colorado, the ACLU's client spent the days shackled in the van and spent the nights in county jails along the route. The lawsuit alleged that the plaintiff was not able to use the toilet at rest stops during the day because the male guards insisted on watching. One day the plaintiff was forced to wait over thirteen hours until they stopped for the night at a county jail.
Earlier this month, the ACLU filed a similar lawsuit against a different extradition company, Extraditions International, on behalf of a woman who alleges that a guard sexually assaulted her during an extradition in May, 2001.