PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania announced on Thursday a settlement between the Allegheny County Jail and a transgender woman over alleged sexual assault.
Allegheny County has agreed to pay $300,000 in damages to Jules Williams, a transgender woman who alleged she suffered sexual assault at the jail.
"We are pleased that Allegheny County agreed to compensate Ms. Williams for the harm she suffered at the jail and are hopeful that policies adopted since Ms. Williams' ordeal will protect other vulnerable individuals, including transgender people, incarcerated at the jail," said Sara Rose, deputy legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.
In 2017, Williams said in a lawsuit she was physically and sexually assaulted during her stays at the jail because the staff placed her with male inmates.
She said those assaults took place between 2015 and 2017.
"It was something that I have nightmares about, and I try to put it all behind me and move past it, but it's been one of the most reoccurring horrific things that I ever had to go through," Williams said in 2017.
Since 2012, federal law requires jails to conduct an individualized assessment of transgender people when they are incarcerated to determine where they should be housed but the county jail did not have any of those policies in place in 2015.
"No amount of money can undo the trauma suffered by Ms. Williams at Allegheny County Jail, but we hope that this settlement will put jails and prisons across the commonwealth on notice that they have an obligation to protect people in their custody," said Reggie Shuford, executive director of ACLU of Pennsylvania.
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