Legal Aid Lawsuit Seeks Reform at Women's Jail at Rikers to End Rape and Sexual Abuse by Staff
FRIDAY, AUGUST 12, 2016

Correction officers at Rikers Island exploit the authority of their position to rape and sexually abuse the women in their custody. This abuse is only possible because, in the face of repeated warnings, the City of New York has enabled a culture of complacency to perpetuate at Rikers Island and thereby consented to the abuse of women in its custody.

Plaintiffs were repeatedly raped and sexually abused by Correction Officer Benny Santiago, who threatened to, and did, punish them if they resisted or reported his abuse. Plaintiffs brought this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Santiago and the City of New York to obtain injunctive relief (reform of the women's jail at Rikers Island to end rape and sexual abuse by staff) and compensatory and punitive damages for deprivation of their constitutional rights.

Plaintiffs are appealing the District Court's denial of class certification because injunctive relief (reform of the women's jail) only is available if the court certifies a class of every women who is or will be incarcerated at the women's jail at Rikers Island.

Oral argument will be held Wednesday, August 17, 2016, at 10:00 AM, at the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Courtroom 1703, Thurgood Marshall US Courthouse, 40 Foley Square, on the appeal of denial of class certification in Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 v. City of New York and Benny Santiago, a case seeking, in part, judgment against the City of New York for reform at the women’s jail at Rikers Island to end rape and sexual abuse by staff.