Ky. inmate sues CCA, claims sexual assault

LOUISVILLE — A German woman has filed a lawsuit against a private company that ran a Kentucky prison and some of its employees, saying she was forced to trade sex to call her ill mother.

The suit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Louisville is the latest in a series of cases alleging sexual assault at the Otter Creek Correctional Complex in Wheelwright. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear ordered all the female prisoners removed from the facility a year ago when a scandal involving corrections officers and inmates reached its height.

The lawsuit says the inmate, a 38-year-old German citizen, is serving 12 years for theft and other charges. Although the lawsuit names the inmate, the Associated Press does not generally identify those who say they have been sexually assaulted.

The lawsuit accuses Dwight Crowell, an internal affairs officer at the prison, of sexual assault. It also names several of his superiors — former Otter Creek Warden Jeff Little, currently the security chief at another CCA prison, Lee Adjustment Center, John Ferguson, chairman of CCA's board of directors and Tony Grande, an executive vice president of CCA — and says they didn't stop the wrongdoing.

Louise Graham, a spokeswoman for CCA in Nashville, Tenn., declined to address the specifics of the inmate's allegations.

No listing for Crowell could be found in the area surrounding the prison. Graham declined to provide any contact information for him.

Kentucky State Police did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Perched on a mountainside above Wheelwright, the Otter Creek prison came under public scrutiny when female inmates from Hawaii complained that they had been subjected to sexual assaults by their male guards.