Monday, October 17, 2005

Suit underscores state's prison rape problem

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Texas/Southwest: "In the Allred state prison near this ranching and oil town, Roderick Keith Johnson says he was bought and sold for sex by prison gangs with names like Gangster Disciples, Mandingo Warriors and the Mexican Mafia. But his biggest tormentor was a man named Monster, who called him Coco and was his pimp.

'Monster was the guy who was controlling me,' said Mr. Johnson, a 37-year-old, gay former inmate of the James V. Allred prison unit. In a quiet voice before the jury hearing his federal civil rights lawsuit, Mr. Johnson detailed his 18-month sexual hell. There were, Mr. Johnson says, near-daily rapes, a forced shower sex show with a mentally retarded inmate, and a prison guard who called him a 'commissary ho.'

Mr. Johnson's allegations – he is suing six Allred prison authorities and staff members, alleging they ignored his repeated pleas for help – cast light on what prison experts say is a serious problem among Texas' 156,000 inmates: the rise of warring prison gangs who use rape, sexual intimidation and assault to establish control and hierarchy among inmates.

Mr. Johnson's attorneys call it a system of 'gang-run sexual slavery,' and they say that prison authorities are aware of the sexual abuse going on within their institutions."


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