A former inmate at a Hawaiian prison is suing the Department of Public Safety after she and other female inmates were allegedly subjected to “public sexual shamings” from the prison’s male warden.
Alexandria Gregg claims the warden of Kauai Community Correctional Center, Neal Wagatsuma, filmed inmates as he forced them to answer questions about "rape, childhood sexual abuse ... sexual preferences [and] sexual deviations.”
She filed a federal class action suit against the DPS, Wagatsuma and DPS director Ted Sakai, according to Courthouse News Service.
"Defendant Wagatsuma's public sexual shamings of female detainees at KCCC involved a myriad of improper, intolerable, and illegal acts," the claim states. "For example, defendant Wagatsuma belittled and derided female detainees in front of other male detainees and required the female detainees to hold up provocative, sexual photographs of themselves as he called them 'whores.'"
Gregg said she and other females endured many “public shamings” in front of male detainees for up to 45 minutes while she was incarcerated at KCCC for six months.
She claims the women who were filmed were usually attractive inmates.
In addition to these video confessionals, she said inmates would have to write detailed reports of their sexual abuse. These reports were then shared with other detainees and prison staff.
"Defendant Wagatsuma would also force female detainees to write and submit detailed descriptions of traumatic sexual and physical molestations endured in childhood or adolescence," the claim states. "These intimate sexual disclosures were then posted in an open book for other detainees and DPS employees to read."
The suit details an incident in which a inmate was allegedly forced to watch a 20-minute film depicting the violent and realistic rape of a female.
“This film screening traumatized the plaintiff and the other class-member female detainees,” it says.
Inmates who did not want to participate were allegedly punished.
"If a detainee refused to follow defendant Wagatsuma's order to degrade themselves sexually, he would deem the detainee uncooperative," it says. "Defendant Wagatsuma retaliated against these 'uncooperative' detainees by sending them back to the more restrictive and punitive KCCC modules, transfer them to another correctional facility, or withhold privileges."
Gregg says Wagatsuma is still employed at the jail and will retaliate against staff if they complain about his actions.
She is seeking punitive damages for cruel and unusual punishment, sexual abuse and other constitutional violations.
Hawaii's inmates aren't the only ones filing sexual harassment claims.
A 34-year-old female prison guard sued the Hawaii Department of Public Safety last September, claiming it failed to protect women from sexual harassment on the job. She said another guard began texting her photographs of his genitalia within 10 minutes of meeting her.
Although she filed a formal complaint against the guard, she was forced to work the same shift with him. The harassment allegedly continued for eight months.
Sources: Courthouse News Service, Hawaii News Now