Pennsylvania Record

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Settlement for transgender inmate whose reports of repeated rape at Delaware County prison allegedly went unheeded

Federal Court

By Nicholas Malfitano | Mar 25, 2020

Prison

PHILADELPHIA – Litigation has been settled involving a transgender inmate who sued a correctional facility and its officers after the defendants allegedly failed to protect her from being raped nearly a dozen times.

On March 12, U.S. District Judge J. Curtis Joyner ordered that plaintiff Tommie Hensley’s case was dismissed with prejudice, without costs, and pursuant to the agreement of the parties. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Hensley filed a complaint on Sept. 27, 2018, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Delaware County, Geo Corrections and others for alleged violation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act.

According to the complaint, on Oct. 1, 2016, Tommie Hensley, a transgender male to female, was incarcerated at the defendants’ facility, when she was sexually assaulted by a cellmate who was a convicted sex offender.

Hensley claimed she told several guards about the assault, but was left in the cell and continued to be assaulted. During the time period to follow, Hensley alleged she was raped another 10 times.

The complaint stated that the rapes continued, until the inmate was transferred to a state correctional institution in March 2017.

“After each rape, the plaintiff reported the incident to [corrections officers], who disregarded the plaintiff’s pleas for corrective action and discipline of the perpetrator,” according to the complaint.

The plaintiff held the defendants responsible, because the defendants allegedly refused and/or failed to take immediate action after plaintiff’s allegations and failed to have a written zero tolerance policy against sexual abuse and sexual harassment.

Prior to settlement, the plaintiff requested a trial by jury and sought judgment for compensatory and punitive damages, plus interest, costs, attorney’s fees, and all other appropriate relief.

The plaintiff was represented by Thomas Bruno II of Abramson & Denenberg, in Philadelphia.

The defendants were represented by Matthew H. Fry and Robert M. DiOrio of DiOrio & Sereni, in Media.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case 2:18-cv-04172

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nick.malfitano@therecordinc.com

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U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania