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Prison Officlals Not Responsible for Rape

Texas- Six Texas prison officials sounded much too pleased with themselves after a federal jury ruled they did not fail to protect an inmate from prison gangs that allegedly “bought and sold him” as a sex slave.

“The jury’s ruling shows a tremendous confidence in our ability to do our jobs professionally and without bias,” they said. The six were accused of violating the civil rights of Roderick Johnson [pictured] while he served time for burglary at the James V. Allred Unit near Wichita Falls.

It’s more likely, however, that the ruling reflects how tremendously difficult it is for alleged prison rape victims to win a credibility contest with prison officials — especially when the judge admits questionable impeachment evidence.

Johnson, 37, went to trial on Eighth Amendment and equal protection claims that alleged the defendants were deliberately indifferent toward his safety and gave him less protection than other inmates because he is homosexual.

According to his complaint, a member of a committee that decided where he would be housed in the prison told him, “We don’t protect punks on this farm,” using prison slang for gays. A prison administrator suggested that he “Learn to fight or accept the f—ing.”

But the jury last week cleared all six defendants of liability, apparently accepting their testimony that they could not substantiate Johnson’s rape allegations because he changed his stories or there was no medical evidence.

“He probably was [raped], but he never came out with a rape test,” explained juror Randy Shelton.

Five current prisoners testified for Johnson, including one who said inmates had sex with him and paid the prison gang that owned him with commissary items worth $3 to $7.

But U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn allowed a parole officer to testify that the plaintiff lied about his recent drug use. Defense witnesses also said Johnson wore tight pants around the prison and flirted with a corrections officer — which sounds suspiciously like saying he was “asking for it.”

As for medical evidence, how, short of testing himself, could Johnson have proved he was raped? He alleged guards refused his request for immediate medical attention after one rape, saying it was only available in cases of emergency.

In 2003, a California jury rejected the civil-rights case of an inmate who was raped after officials placed him in a cell with a notorious sexual predator. The plaintiff has appealed, arguing the judge erred by admitting evidence of his criminal convictions and prison rules violations.


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