Nation

Lawsuit: Teen prisoner raped by inmate, infected with HIV

BATON ROUGE, La. — A 17-year-old inmate who was incarcerated with adults was raped by a prisoner who infected the teenager with HIV, according to a federal lawsuit that accuses the Louisiana jail of negligence.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, also accuses East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux and two deputies of violating the teen’s constitutional rights and disregarding a federal law that should have kept the teen segregated from the general population inmates. It seeks unspecified monetary damages against the sheriff, the jail’s warden, and another deputy.

The teen met the criteria for a ‘‘high risk sexual victim’’ under the Prison Rape Elimination Act and should have remained segregated, the suit said. Instead, the teen was transferred from the juvenile wing and attacked last February by a man awaiting trial on rape and robbery charges.

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The teen’s attorney said prosecutors are still evaluating the case and haven’t charged the other inmate with raping his client.

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The teen, who was awaiting trial for a burglary case, was 5-foot-10, weighed 125 pounds, and is ‘‘mildly mentally handicapped’’ from fetal alcohol syndrome. His age, size, and ‘‘mental makeup’’ left him at high risk of being sexually assaulted in the jail, according to the suit.

Warden Dennis Grimes served the teen up to his assailant ‘‘like a sacrificial lamb’’ by authorizing his transfer from the juvenile wing to a locked two-man cell in general population, the suit said.

‘‘The results were predictable and catastrophic,’’ the suit said.

A sheriff’s office spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a call and e-mail on Tuesday.

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In 2016, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed a law that raised the state’s adult prosecution age from 17 to 18. But the change hasn’t taken effect yet because the law will be phased in over several years.