In 2020, Attorney Jaehyun Oh filed a lawsuit on behalf three women who were sexually abused while incarcerated at the now-closed Manhattan Correctional Center. The lawsuit was brought against both the perpetrator of their abuse as well as against the United States Federal Government and its various officers who looked the other way while the abuse was occurring.
The case was settled for $3 million, making it the largest publicly available settlement obtained against the United States for officer-on-inmate sex abuse.
As a result of the historic case, Carolyn Richardson, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, was invited to testify at the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation on Sexual Abuse of Female Inmates, hosted by Chairman Jon Ossoff. Ms. Richardson, along with three other women, testified that her abuser took advantage of blind spots in the prison without camera surveillance.
“He told me that my cell was in a ‘perfect area’ because the security camera could not see him coming or going.”
Along with Ms. Richardson’s verbal testimony, she also attached the historic complaint as an exhibit to her written submission to the Subcommittee. The complaint, filed by Attorney Jaehyun Oh, documents the institutional failures that allowed her sexual abuse to go unchecked.
Less than 24 hours after the testimonies, the House passed the Prison Camera Reform Act, and two weeks later, President Biden signed the act into law. Congress found that there were well documented deficiencies of BOP camera and surveillance systems that have hindered investigators’ ability to substantiate allegations of serious misconduct within prisons.
This Prison Camera Reform Act will require the BOP to evaluate and enhance camera, radio, and public address systems at all their facilities. The BOP must complete necessary upgrades within three years and submit annual progress reports to lawmakers following the improvements.
After the hearing concluded and the act was officially signed into law, both the verbal testimony and complaint were archived in the U.S. National Bibliography, which is made up of publications across legislative, executive, and judicial branches in the U.S. government.
This historic moment is not only an accomplishment for the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm, but also for incarcerated survivors of sexual assault, as their stories are often considered an afterthought in political discussions.
At the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm, we have always stood in solidarity with sexual assault survivors, and attorney Jaehyun Oh is currently involved in a number of committees and reform efforts to advocate for prisoners’ rights. The Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm is not only committed to representing their clients, but we are also committed to advocating for change that would have prevented our clients from being wronged in the first place.
With the growing number of allegations of sexual assault against prison officials, it is more important now than ever that incarcerated victims seek proper legal representation to hold their abusers accountable.
Attorney Jaehyun Oh is playing an important role in bringing national attention to these issues. Having the historic complaint archived in the U.S. National Bibliography is not only a testament to our team’s commitment to advocating for long needed prison reform but also acts as a recognition of Attorney Jaehyun Oh’s groundbreaking work.
Contact a Prison Sexual Assault Lawyer
Sexual contact between an inmate and correctional officer or prison staff is prohibited by law because prison staff maintain complete control over inmates’ daily lives. It is impossible for an inmate to give or revoke their consent in a meaningful way.
Although the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) promotes a “zero-tolerance policy” for sexual assault, victims of prison sexual assault not only face barriers to reporting their abuse but also retaliation for speaking up if they do. Furthermore, incarcerated women and sexual assault survivors often have negative experiences with the legal system, which often deters women from speaking up or pursuing legal action while incarcerated.
During Ms. Richardson’s testimony, she stated,
“I stand here for other female inmates, many who feel that they are alone, without anyone to care about their story like I used to feel. I hope in sharing this we can improve our system and prevent this from every happening again.”
The Sexual Assault Lawyers at the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm led by Jaehyun Oh understand the complexities of navigating the legal system while incarcerated, and our team approaches every case with the upmost care and compassion. We understand that coming forward is an incredibly difficult process and may cause added stress to you and your family.
Your story matters.
At the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm, we can help you act against the prison staff who were responsible for and complicit in causing your abuse. Our Prison Sexual Assault team has represented clients across the country who were sexually assaulted while incarcerated.
We are currently representing women from FCI Dublin and FCI Tallahassee who were sexually assaulted while incarcerated. We will work with you confidentially to ensure that your abuser is held accountable.
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.