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Fri July 29, 2011
Michigan Supreme Court rules on prison rape
The Michigan Supreme Court has dismissed the civil rights lawsuit filed by a woman who was raped by a sheriff’s deputy while being held in jail.
The victim sued Wayne County and the Sheriff’s Department after she was harassed and raped by a deputy while being held in jail for not paying child support.
The deputy – Reginald Johnson – was fired, charged with a crime, and convicted of rape.
The victim said the county and the sheriff’s department should be held responsible because Johnson could not have attacked her unless he was a deputy assigned to the jail.
The county argued there was no way the sheriff could have known or should have known the deputy was a sexual predator.
The court’s Republican majority ruled that Johnson acted outside his professional responsibilities and in direct violation of department policies.
Democrats on the court dissented. They said the majority decision undermines protections for victims of discrimination and harassment, and weakens Michigan’s civil rights law.