A former Ann Arbor, Michigan jail inmate filed a federal lawsuit alleging he was forced to perform a sex act on a correctional officer and didn’t receive timely medical care.
Larry Deshawn Lee, 32, also accused jail officials of not properly addressing his complaints. He’s suing the county, former sheriff Daniel Minzey, SecureCare Inc., which provides health care to the jail’s inmates, and 14 other people. The suit seeks an unspecified amount of money.
The suit also asks the court to order the jail to implement a program ensuring officials adequately respond to inmates’ complaints about physical threats, health needs and harassment.
“He’s got a strong interest in making sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else ever again,” said attorney David Santacroce, a University of Michigan Law School professor who is representing Lee.
Several of Santacroce’s students in the school’s Michigan Clinical Law Program are assisting, he said.
The county has not yet filed its response to Lee’s amended complaint. Attorney Cynthia Reach, who is representing the county and jail employees, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Santacroce said Lee continues to struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, which the suit claims was brought on by “attacks and abuse” at the jail.
“The evidence we have thus far suggests this isn’t an isolated incident regarding the harassing and oppressive environment,” Santacroce said.
An amended complaint was filed last Friday after Lee requested the court appoint an attorney for him.
Lee was representing himself when he filed a 47-page suit June 23 while incarcerated at Florence Crane Correctional Facility in Coldwater.
He’s serving between three and 15 years in prison after being convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in Washtenaw County, state Department of Corrections records show. He was convicted of preying on drunken male University of Michigan students by sexually assaulting them after they had passed out or fallen asleep in 2006.
Lee alleges in the suit he was mistreated almost immediately after being booked at the jail on June 9, 2006, and was subjected to a “degrading and abusive anti-homosexual atmosphere.”
According to the suit, jail officials violated Lee’s constitutional rights, turning a “blind-eye” to sexual assaults against him by “a correctional officer and other inmates.”
Inmates contaminated his food with “human feces” and “cups of urine,” the suit says, and correctional officers “blamed Mr. Lee’s homosexuality for provoking such horror.”
When he asked for help, the suit alleges, he didn’t received it or was punished. Among the most serious allegations is that on Sept. 26, 2006, a male deputy forced Lee to perform oral sex on him.
Lee also alleges that on July 10, 2006, a deputy escorted him from the barber to his cell and told him “to walk along the right side of the wall.” Lee turned a corner, the suit says, hit his head on a utility box, fell backward and struck his head on the floor, suffering blurred vision and headaches.
Lee was taken to a holding cell, where “he vomited and bled from his ear and nose,” but wasn’t examined by a doctor for three days, according to the suit.
Lee also alleges that on July 2, 2006, he complained a deputy was sexually harassing him and was told by another deputy he was “here because (he was) a criminal. Welcome to the Hogback Hilton.”
Lee, who attended University of Michigan but didn’t graduate, kept records of the incidents while behind bars, Santacroce said.
“He kept remarkable notes, almost, I believe on a daily basis,” Santacroce said.
Other defendants include correctional officers: Chad Gronda, Ryan McLaughlin, Joseph Fendt, Rick Casey, Richard Williams Jr., Antonio Vaughn, Jill Williams, Richard Williams Sr., and Kurt Schiappacase. Two other officers, referred to as “John Doe” and “Jane Doe,” because their names are not known to Lee, also are being sued.
Dr. Daryl Parker, who provided medical care at the jail, and Edward Mooreman, whose responsibilities include determining housing assignments, also are named as defendants.
Story: Lee Higgins AnnArbor.com.