Inmate Raped by Milwaukee County Jail Guard and Shackled During Childbirth Awarded $6.7 Million

A federal jury awarded $6.7 million to a female inmate repeatedly raped by a guard in the Milwaukee County Jail run by Sheriff David Clarke Jr. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

A federal jury awarded $6.7 million on June 7 to a female inmate who was raped by a Milwaukee County Jail guard four years ago, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The jury determined that the guard, Xavier Thicklen, was acting as a county employee when the repeated rapes occurred and thus Milwaukee County was liable for the damages, the newspaper reported.

The identity of the sexual assault victim is not being revealed.

“She was raped repeatedly at the age of 19. She sought justice and she is glad the system delivered that justice,” Chicago attorney Theresa Kleinhaus told the newspaper. “She hopes to prevent other women from being sexually assaulted in the Milwaukee County Jail.”

The county expects to appeal the jury’s decision, the Associated Press reported.

The Journal Sentinel reported that the victim was already pregnant when she entered the jail in 2013. As was the jail’s policy, she was shackled as she went through labor later that year before giving birth to a healthy girl at a hospital.

The jury, the newspaper said, found “no legitimate government purpose” to shackle the woman during childbirth labor.

In March, another female inmate filed a similar lawsuit, which is pending, related to her shackling during child birth.

David Clarke Jr., Milwaukee County’s controversial and outspoken conservative sheriff, in a 2015 deposition defended the practice of shackling as protection for hospital staff, according to the Journal Sentinel.  But a midwife testified that shackling could slow labor and endanger the child.

Clarke, who is up for a job in President Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security and faces a number of lawsuits alleging abuse and neglect at the jail, did not testify at the three-day trial, according to reports.

Thicklen initially was charged with several counts of sexual assault before reaching a plea deal in 2014, when he was charged with felony misconduct in public office, according to the Associated Press. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to three days in jail and fined $200.


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