CLARK COUNTY, Ind. (WXIN) — Eight more women have filed a civil rights lawsuit against an Indiana sheriff, a former jailer and other unknown jail officers.
The women claim the former Clark County jail officer, David Lowe, sold his jail key to male inmates for $1,000, giving them access to a female holding area where the women were raped, assaulted and harassed.
The incident happened on Oct. 23 and Oct. 24 in 2021. A civil lawsuit was also filed in the case last month on behalf of 20 women. Lowe faces criminal charges of trafficking with an inmate, aiding escape and official misconduct. His trial is scheduled for Nov. 1, 2022.
According to court documents, Lowe was on duty on Oct. 23 when he gave male inmates access to the women’s housing pod. They spent several hours inside and didn’t leave until the morning of Oct. 24.
Throughout the entire ordeal, no jail officers came to the women’s aid, according to the lawsuit. The women claimed they were groped, fondled, harassed and intimidated by the inmates. At least two women were allegedly raped.
The men, who covered their heads with towels to hide their identities from surveillance cameras, threatened the women with harm if they yelled for help or used the emergency call button, according to court documents.
After it happened, the women had their dark (lights out) privileges revoked; jail officers left their lights on for 72 straight hours, according to the lawsuit.
The women were also placed on lockdown and restricted to their pods. The lawsuit alleged that jail officers confiscated their property, including blankets, pillows and personal hygiene items.
The lawsuit filed this week accused Lowe of giving inmates access to the women and being “deliberately indifferent” to the “substantial risk” they faced.
Other jail officers, the lawsuit said, failed in their duty to protect female inmates and never intervened to stop the male inmates.
Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel is also named in the suit. He’s accused of poor oversight and inadequate supervision. The lawsuit accused him of hiring jail officers without adequately training them.
“These systemic failures allowed numerous male assailants to have free run of the jail for several hours, resulting in a night of terror for the Plaintiffs and other victims,” attorneys for the women said.
The women were subjected to significant physical and mental injuries, their attorneys said. The lawsuit seeks a jury trial as well as punitive and compensatory damages.