Two prison officers in South Carolina have been suspended with pay for a mistake that led to a female inmate being sexually assaulted. The officers placed a male inmate whose cell was being cleaned in a holding cell without noticing that a female inmate was already in there, asleep with a blanket over her head. The woman says she awoke to find the male inmate touching her breasts, buttocks, and genitals and called for help, reports the Charlotte Observer.
James Henry Richardson has been charged with second-degree assault and battery. He was in jail on larceny charges and has no previous sexual assault convictions. Officers say the woman, who had been arrested for failing to return rented items, was immediately removed from the cell and given a medical examination. Officials at the York County Detention Center—which accidentally released a convicted murderer earlier this year—say they plan to update procedures to make sure this doesn't happen again. (Read more South Carolina stories.)