Tuesday, September 20, 2005

 

'Sex slave' case ready to begin


WICHITA FALLS, Kansas - An eight-man, six-woman jury was selected Monday in the federal civil trial of seven Texas prison officials accused of refusing to protect a gay inmate from being sold as a sex slave and repeatedly raped.

Attorneys questioned a pool of about 80 potential jurors in the case filed by Roderick Keith Johnson, a burglary convict who said fellow inmates sexually assaulted him almost every day for a year and a half.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued in 2002 on behalf of Johnson, 37, who was released from prison in 2003 and is seeking unspecified damages against seven Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials.

During preliminary questioning Monday, many potential jurors said they knew at least one guard or other employee at the Allred Unit, where Johnson was imprisoned. U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn also asked how they felt about homosexuality and the ACLU, and a few said they had negative feelings about both.

Last year, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans dropped eight of the lawsuit's 15 original defendants, including the department's executive director and the prison unit's senior warden. But the court ruled that the other seven could be sued for discrimination. TDCJ spokesman Mike Viesca has declined to comment.

Johnson was sent to prison in 2000 after violating the terms of his probation for a 1992 burglary conviction.


See our complete collection of bad behavior at the hands of prison and jail guards: Where did they learn that?

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