Federal court won’t toss sexual harassment lawsuit against Colorado prison guard

Federal court won’t toss sexual harassment lawsuit against Colorado prison guard

A lawsuit against a former Colorado prison guard accused of sexually harassing female inmates will go forward after a federal appeals court determined he would not be granted government protection from being sued.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a lawsuit against Bruce Bradley, a former canteen supervisor at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility, and other state prison officials should continue. Any reasonable corrections officer in Bradley’s position would have known his conduct violated inmate Susan Ullery’s rights, the court ruled.

Ullery’s April 2018 lawsuit in U.S. District Cour in Denvert said prison officials did not protect her from being groped in the crotch by Bradley during an investigative sting. Ullery was wearing a hidden microphone to help build a case against Bradley, who had been accused of sexually harassing and assaulting female inmates who worked in the canteen.

Annie Skinner, a corrections department spokeswoman, said she could not comment because the case was in the early stages of litigation.

Denver civil rights attorney David Lane filed the lawsuit on Ullery’s behalf against Bradley, former Colorado Department of Corrections executive director Rick Raemisch, and four officials at the women’s prison.

The lawsuit accused Bradley and his supervisors, including Raemisch, of “reckless and callous indifference” despite the prison having the highest rate of sexual assault of prisoners by correctional officers in the nation.

A corrections department spokeswoman on Tuesday could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Post typically shields the names of sexual assault victims, but Lane has said Ullery wants her name published as a message to fellow inmates. Ullery was serving a six-year prison sentence for theft when she began working in the canteen in 2014.

The sexual harassment began about four months after Ullery started work in the canteen, the lawsuit said. The abuse allegedly escalated to sexual assault, it said. Witnesses reported that Bradley sexually harassed female inmates he supervised as early as 2008, the lawsuit said.

In April of 2016, Ullery met with investigators from the corrections department’s inspector general’s office, who persuaded her to wear a wire to record Bradley’s inappropriate behavior. But Ullery’s lawsuit said investigators failed to intervene when the abuse started. They told her the device was not transmitting well, the lawsuit said.

Bradley resigned in lieu of being fired on May 31, 2016, the lawsuit said. He had worked for the corrections department since 1993.

Published at Tue, 11 Feb 2020 21:17:00 +0000

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