The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chin, District Judge.
In this case, plaintiff Beatrice Morris alleges that while she
was incarcerated at Bayview Correctional Facility ("Bayview"),
defendant Gilbert Eversley, a corrections officer, entered her
cell one night and sexually assaulted her. Morris contends that
Eversley's conduct is but one example of an ongoing pattern and
practice at Bayview of male corrections officers engaging in
sexual contact with female prisoners. By law, any such conduct
would be improper, as inmates are deemed incapable of consenting
to sexual contact with prison employees. Morris further contends
that the supervisors were aware of the inappropriate and
prevalent sexual conduct at Bayview because of the number of
complaints lodged by female prisoners and the incidence of
pregnancies among inmates. Despite this knowledge, Morris
claims, Bayview supervisors failed to act.
The following facts are drawn from the complaint and attached
exhibits as well as the amended complaint. Although defendants
deny plaintiffs allegations, as required, I assume plaintiffs
alleged facts are true for purposes of this motion. The parties
have also submitted additional information concerning Morris's
efforts to exhaust her administrative remedies.
Morris was incarcerated at Bayview, a medium security women's
prison, from March of 1999 through June of 1999. (Am.Compl. ¶
12). She was later incarcerated at Taconic Correctional
Facility, and was released on parole on November 10, 2000.
During Morris's incarceration at Bayview, defendant Eversley was
employed as a corrections officer by the New York State
Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS"), assigned to
Bayview. (Id. ¶¶ 4, 14). Defendants Dixon and Porter were also
employed by DOCS and assigned to Bayview at that time. (Id. ¶¶
5-6). Dixon served as Superintendent of Bayview, and Porter
served as Assistant Deputy Superintendent of Programs. (Id.).
Captain Werbacker also worked at Bayview, and had supervisory
authority over Eversley.*fn2
Throughout Morris's incarceration at Bayview, Eversley had
custodial authority over inmates, including Morris. (Id. ¶
14). This authority translated into "custody and control over
Morris'[s] person, her housing, and her rights and privileges as
an inmate at Bayview." (Id. ¶ 15). In approximately March of
1999, Eversley began to make sexually suggestive comments to
Morris. (Id. ¶ 16). On the night of April 18, 1999, after
"lights out" had been called, Eversley entered Morris's cell,
without warning, as she lay sleeping. (Id. ¶ 17; Compl. Ex.
B). Morris was awakened by Eversley's touch, and immediately
told him to get out. He refused. Exposing himself, Eversley
pulled back the covers on Morris's bed. Morris was petrified and
repeatedly told him to stop; again, he refused. Eversley
restrained her, forced himself upon her, and sexually assaulted
her. (Compl. Ex. B; Am. Compl. ¶ 18).
After the assault, Morris retained the bed sheet as evidence
of the assault. (Id. ¶ 29). She isolated herself from other
inmates and avoided corrections officers, fearing for her
safety. (Id. ¶ 23). Morris was initially reluctant to report
the assault, fearing that Eversley would retaliate against her.
(Id. ¶ 22). On June 7, 1999, Eversley filed a disciplinary
report against Morris, citing alleged infractions. (Compl. Ex.
A; Am. Compl. ¶ 24). Thereafter, Morris reported Eversley's
sexual assault to Captain Werbacker, who had supervisory
authority over Eversley.
(Am. Compl. ¶¶ 13, 27). She provided details of the assault in a
letter, and met with Darryl Warner of the New York State
Inspector General's Office to further discuss the attack. (Id.
¶¶ 7, 27-28). Morris also gave Warner and Werbacker the bed sheet
she had retained from the night of the assault; laboratory
testing later confirmed the presence of semen on the sheet.
(Id. ¶¶ 29, 32).
On June 30, 1999, Morris executed a Notice of Intention To
File Claim, addressed to the New York State Attorney General.
Morris set forth the nature of her claim in detail, and noted
that the administration and the Inspector General's Office had
previously been informed of the matter. (Compl.Ex. B).
Notwithstanding Morris's complaint, Eversley has not been
removed from his position and is still employed at Bayview.
(Am.Compl. ¶ 37). He has engaged in sexual conduct with other
prisoners at Bayview, as have other corrections officers
employed by Bayview. (Id. ¶ 37). Prisoners have also
complained to supervisors of unwelcome sexual contact by
corrections officers, and prisoners have become pregnant while
incarcerated at Bayview. (Id. ¶¶ 20-21). The supervisory
authority at Bayview has failed to adequately investigate
Eversley's conduct or to discipline him. (Id. ¶ 33).
The District Attorney's Office for New York County is
conducting an investigation into facts surrounding ...