Civil Rights

FCI Tallahassee Officer Hatten Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Inmates

August 15, 2023
Prison Border Chains

Table Of Contents

Hardeep Shergill

On May 26, 2023, former FCI Tallahassee correctional officer Lenton Jerome Hatten pled guilty to one count of sexual abuse of an individual in federal custody. The Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm is currently representing several victims of correctional officer sexual abuse at FCI Tallahassee.

FCI Tallahassee Correctional Officer Lenton Jerome Hatten

Officer Hatten was indicted for engaging in unlawful sexual acts from October 2021 to August 2022. According to court documents, his actions ranged from inappropriate touching and groping to rape. In fact, when a forensic examination was conducted, DNA evidence did confirm that Hatten raped one woman who was incarcerated.

The Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm is representing numerous victims of Officer Hatten. Sexual contact in prison is prohibited, and when numerous individuals have been abused by the same individual, it becomes evident the abuse was not an isolated incident, but rather a widespread problem.

If you or someone you know was abused by officer Hatten, we can help you pursue action not only against him, but against the Bureau of Prisons for failing to prevent the abuse from occurring in the first place.

Sexual contact is prohibited between staff and inmates because prison staff maintain substantial control over inmates’ daily lives, so it is impossible to create an environment where an inmate has autonomy to give or revoke consent in a meaningful way. Incarcerated women are especially vulnerable to abuse and manipulation from male staff, and it is the Federal Bureau of Prison’s responsibility to ensure that everyone under their custody is properly cared for and kept safe.

We can help hold the responsible parties accountable.

Hatten is expected to be sentenced on August 24, 2023. Although the charge against Hatten was not brought on behalf of any of our clients, the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm is assisting our clients in speaking with law enforcement officials investigating Hatten, advocating for them to receive psychological help for their trauma both in and out of prison, and raising alarms about other issues within the BOP such as retaliation and improper med or psych treatment.

History of Sexual Assault at FCI Tallahassee

The Federal Correctional Institute Tallahassee, otherwise known as FCI Tallahassee is an all-women’s low security prison in Tallahassee Florida. Unfortunately, the prison has a history of widespread correctional officer sex abuse dating back to 2002. Notably, in 2006, six correctional officers were arrested and walked off by the FBI for sexual assault and corruption.

More recently, in March of 2022, another FCI Tallahassee Officer Jimmy Lee Highsmith was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison following his conviction of one count of sexual abuse against a ward who was incarcerated at FCI Tallahassee. Video surveillance showed that Highsmith wrongfully engaged in sexual acts with an inmate on various occasions between March and April of 2014, and a sexual assault medical examination confirmed that the inmate sustained injuries from Highsmith’s abuse.

14 months after Highsmith was sentenced, Officer Hatten was indicted with the exact same charge, raising concern that the Bureau of Prisons is putting inmates at risk of being sexual assault by their very own staff members. Following the two indictments, in June of 2023, the Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General led a sexual abuse facility review to asses the conditions and implement changes at FCI Tallahassee.

Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm Leading National Prison Reform Efforts

Last December, the Permanent Subcommittee of Investigations held a Congressional hearing regarding the Sexual Abuse of Female Inmates. Our client Carolyn Richardson, a victim of correctional officer sexual assault, delivered a verbal testimony at the hearing following attorney Jaehyun Oh’s historic $3M settlement against the now-closed Manhattan Correctional Center.

Attorney Jaehyun Oh’s precedent-setting settlement is the largest publicly available settlement awarded against a governmental institution for sexual assault in history.

During the Senate Hearing, Ms. Richardson testified that Correctional Officer Akparanta told her that her cell was in the “perfect spot” because there were no cameras that could see them. Less than 24 hours after the testimony was delivered, Congress passed the Prison Camera Reform Act, which requires all BOP facilities to update their surveillance practices within 3 years. Two weeks later, Biden signed the act into law.

The Congressional investigation found that there were widespread failures in surveillance measures to prevent sexual assault, but also that there were not proper avenues for inmates to safely report their abusers without experiencing retaliation. Despite the necessary reforms that followed from the Congressional Investigation, it is evident that widespread systematic change is necessary.

Last year, former FCI Dublin Warden, Ray J. Garcia was sentenced for multiple counts of sexually abusing inmates. Garcia is the highest-ranking federal official to be sentenced since 1925. At least eight correctional officers at FCI Dublin have been indicted with charges of sexual abusing inmates, and the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm is currently representing survivors of sexual abuse at Dublin.

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), which promotes a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual assault, it is more important now than ever to implement systemic changes to ensure that no one is ever exposed to sexual assault while incarcerated.

Speak with an FCI Tallahassee Prison Sex Abuse Attorney

If you or a loved one were sexually assaulted by a correctional officer while incarcerated at FCI Tallahassee, contact the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm for a free consultation. We can help hold those responsible accountable.

We understand that coming forward is an incredibly difficult process and may cause added stress to you and your family.

Led by Jaehyun Oh, the Prison Sexual Assault Lawyers at the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm understand the complexities of navigating the legal system while incarcerated, and our team approaches every case with the upmost care and compassion. With a history of client success, including obtaining the largest known settlement against the BOP for inmate sexual abuse, we can help you act against the prison staff who were responsible for and complicit in causing your abuse.

If you or a loved one were sexually abused while incarcerated, contact Jaehyun Oh for a confidential initial consultation.

We can help when the unimaginable happens.