Pregnant Inmate Raped by Guard Gets $6.7M
Ex-inmate says she was repeatedly assaulted; Milwaukee County plans appeal
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2017 7:40 AM CDT
A federal jury awarded $6.7M to an ex-inmate who claimed she was repeatedly raped by a guard.   (Fox 6)

(Newser) – A federal jury in Milwaukee has awarded $6.7 million to a former inmate who charged she was repeatedly raped by a jail guard while she was pregnant, the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal reports. The woman filed a civil lawsuit alleging the guard, Xavier Thicklen, began assaulting her shortly after she was locked up in early 2013. Then 19, the woman identified only as "Jane Doe" was in the early stages of pregnancy when she said Thicklen raped her at various spots in the jail. "He used his keys, his power, his authority to get in these places and rape me," she testified earlier in the trial, per the Sentinel-Journal. Officials in Milwaukee County plan to appeal the verdict. The county is liable for the payout since Thicklen was a public employee on the clock at the time of the assaults.

The jury declined to award the woman compensation for being shackled during labor—she gave birth to a healthy baby girl—which her legal team claimed violated her constitutional rights. A midwife testified the restraints could slow labor and endanger the child. Prosecutors dropped four sexual assault charges against Thicklen, now 28, after he agreed to plead guilty to felony misconduct in November 2014, per Fox6. Sentenced to three days in jail, he was given credit for time served. The victim testified the assaults still bring on nightmares. "She sought justice and she is glad the system delivered that justice," her lawyer tells the Sentinel-Journal. "She hopes to prevent other women from being sexually assaulted in the Milwaukee County Jail." (A judge called a rapist ex-bishop a "good man.")

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