A former female guard who said she was placed with 60 male inmates at CoreCivic's Silverdale facility has filed suit based on sexual harassment.
The Bradley County woman says in the Federal Court lawsuit that she was groped by some inmates and that her "Code Red" calls for help were sometimes ignored.
The suit filed by attorney Donna Mikel and Douglas Hamill asks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
The woman was a guard from April 23 to Sept. 6.
She said her only forms of protection were pepper spray, a set of handcuffs and a hand radio.
The suit says she "was subjected to unwelcome, severe and pervasive sexual harassment and assault from the male inmates."
She said in one instance in June several inmates graphically and aggressively talked about how they wanted to have sex with her. Two of the inmates grabbed her by the buttocks and refused to back away despite her commands. She said she called a "Code Red" but no one responded.
The suit says some of the other inmates "were able to diffuse the sexually aggressive inmates."
She said she wrote up the two inmates and they received three weeks in segregation.
The suit said once when she called a "Code Red" when inmates were engaging in sexually explicit talk. It says a Capt. Coulter responded and said, "Grow a tougher skin. I can't sit in here and hold your hand."
She said in early August several inmates "became very graphic and violent as they spewed sexually explicit language toward her." She said they began to expose their genitals. She said an inmate who is six feet tall was close to her when he said he was going to force his private area on her. She is five feet tall. She said several other inmates egged the inmate on.
She said she was locked inside the pod at the time. She said she called central control to unlock it, but got no response. She said the door was finally unlocked and she was able to escape.
She said she wrote up the inmate, but nothing ever happened to him.
The guard said on another occasions inmates were exposing themselves to her. She said a supervisor told her to just ignore it.
She said an inmate named Holland then grabbed her and pulled her into his private cell. She said he began kissing her, putting his hands on her breasts and his hands down her pants. She said she finally broke free, but he caught her and pulled her back into the cell. She said she finally was able to get away.
She said when she complained to supervisor Denise Myers, she laughed and said "Boys will be boys."
Since she left Silverdale, she said she has had recurring nightmares and has been diagnosed with PTSD.