Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Settlement reached in lawsuit filed against former Barton County sheriff by woman allegedly raped by jailer

A lawsuit filed by a former prisoner in the Barton County Jail in Lamar who claims she was sexually harassed and assaulted has been settled, according to a filing today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. The defendants in the case were former Sheriff Mitchell Shaw (pictured) and former jailer Antonio Azua.

In the lawsuit, the woman claimed Azua forcibly raped her, gave her chlamydia and when she wrote to Shaw to tell him what happened to her, he did not bother to read the complaints.

Details of the settlement, which has not been perfected, according to the filing, were not released. Judge Brian C. Wimes ruled that the case could be reopened by either side if the settlement is not completed within 45 days.

The allegations against Shaw and Azua were spelled out in the petition.

That (she) was an inmate of the Barton County jail from September 10, 2018 to September 21, 2018. While there, she learned that defendant Azua was bartering with female inmates whereby the inmates would receive snacks, cigarettes, and showers in exchange for sexual and/or sexual favors.

That at said time and place, it was common knowledge in the jail, amongst inmates and staff, that defendant Azua would provide privileges in exchange for sexual favors.

That defendant Shaw knew and/or was consciously indifferent to the barter exchange system being perpetrated by defendant Azua.

(She)was again incarcerated at the Barton County jail from December 8, 2018 to December 18, 2018. (She)was again subjected to inhumane and unsafe living conditions at the Barton County Jail.

During this stay, Deputy Azua offered to take (plaintiff) and another inmate to shower. (She) was not able to shower for days prior to the offer.

Deputy Azua would stand adjacent to the shower and watch (her) and the other inmate shower. Deputy Azua would consistently offer to allow (her) to shower in exchange for him watching her.

(Plaintiff) would sent (sic) multiple requests to speak with the Sheriff Shaw. Sheriff Shaw never agreed to meet with or hear what (she) had to say.

On information and belief, the multiple requests would go through Sheriff Shaw’s jail administrator, Deputy Azua.

(Plaintiff) was again incarcerated in the Barton County Jail from January 26, 2019 to March 28, 2019. During this stay, Deputy Azua became more aggressive with his requests for sexual favors in exchange for favorable treatment, including requiring (her) to expose her breasts and genitals.

On one occasion while showering, Deputy Azua became more aggressive. He put his hands on her body and onto her buttocks. (Plaintiff) asked him to stop and he threatened her by reminding her that she was the inmate and should comply.

Defendant Azua would bring (plaintiff) and other inmates into the shower together. He would then require the inmates to perform sex acts on each other for his benefit.

(Plaintiff) felt threatened by Deputy Azua’s advances and thought her best course of action would be to play along. She feared the repercussions of failing to comply with Deputy Azua’s advances. Deputy Azua continued to up the sexual advances and offered to provide a cell phone for use in the jail. Deputy Azua required (plaintiff) to take sexual photos on the phone and send them to his cell phone. (She) complied in fear.

Shortly after providing the cell phone, Deputy Azua took (her) into the basement and raped her while she was shackled.

The following day, (she) was interviewed by Sheriff Shaw and she told him about Deputy Azua and the rape she incurred.

Sheriff Shaw refused to allow (her) to undergo a rape testing kit at a hospital.

The barter system Deputy Azua was running in the jail was common knowledge in the Baron County jail throughout the guards and inmates. Sheriff Shaw either knew, should have known, or was consciously indifferent to providing appropriate supervision and training to prevent the abuse.

Despite being forced to live in deplorable conditions and being subjected to rape, (plaintiff) was billed for her time in prison.

During the times mentioned herein, Sheriff Shaw  failed to have written policies and procedures to prevent the precise abuse (she) was subjected to.

During the times mentioned herein, Sheriff Shaw failed to supervise the jail and was consciously indifferent to the safety and well-being of the inmates, including but not limited to (plaintiff).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Money always wins.