Legal Aid's Prisoners' Rights Project Wins Two Important Victories in Amador Prison Sexual Abuse Case
THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2013

The Prisoners’ Rights Project has won two important victories on behalf of Lucy Tasama (formerly Amador), a woman who was repeatedly sexually abused while in State prison. This month, Magistrate Judge Feldman of the federal court for the Western District of New York ruled that a correction officer’s forcibly kissing her, groping her breast and buttocks, and exposing himself can be serious enough in the coercive environment of a prison to violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. In one of the first decisions of its kind in New York State, Judge Feldman acknowledged that contemporary standards of decency have evolved in recent years and such conduct is no longer permissible. This decision is an important step in vindicating the rights of our clients who are sexually abused while in prison. This decision clears the way for the case to go to trial this summer.

Last month, Ms. Tasama was awarded half a million dollars in compensatory and punitive damages following a damages inquest for being forced to perform oral sexual acts on a former Sergeant at Albion Correctional Facility.

Dori Lewis, Senior Supervising Attorney, and Veronica Vela, Staff Attorney, of Legal Aid's Prisoners’ Rights Project are handling this litigation along with the law firm of Debovoise & Plimpton LLP.