Transgendered Woman Raped in Sacramento Jail Files Claim
[SACRAMENTO, CA] - The Sheriff's Department of Sacramento, California, states its mission as "the protection of life and property, the preservation of the public peace and the enforcement of the laws. To accomplish our mission, we dedicate ourselves to Service With Concern." Last August and September, concern may have been farthest from the minds of Sheriff Lou Banas and his force.
In a civil claim filed against Sacramento County, its District Attorney, and the Sheriff's Department on December 17, 2002, Kelly McAllister alleges negligence, threats and slurs based on her transgender status, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, conspiracy, battery, and assault that culminated in a brutal rape by a male inmate.
Ms. McAllister was arrested on August 16, 2002 in connection with a reported public disturbance. She alleges mistreatment during and following her arrest, including beatings and denial of restroom access. She claims to have been pepper sprayed, hog-tied with hand- cuffs on her wrists and ankles, dragged across the hot pavement face down, and, at one point, left to burn on the hot pavement.
According to the claim, her treatment at the Sacramento Main Jail was even worse. McAllister, a preoperative transsexual in her mid thirties who has lived full time as a woman for several years, was threatened, demeaned, and subjected to a humiliating strip search.
Following a court appearance on September 6, the five foot seven inch, 135-pound McAllister was placed in a cell with a much larger male prisoner who brutally raped her. Hospital tests, witnessed by a male and female Deputy Sheriff, confirmed that she had been sexually assaulted. Continuing threats and taunts from inmates and jailers drove her to despair, and McAllister attempted suicide soon after her return to jail.
Dean Johansson, principal attorney in the civil action claim, sees no rational explanation for the Sheriff's Department placing a known male to female transsexual in a cell with a man. "The Sheriff's Department was aware of Kelly McAllister's transgender status," he said, "and had previously housed her in protective custody for this very reason in connection with an earlier, unrelated misdemeanor incident."
On September 9, McAllister was returned to court. The judge ordered her released based on time served. Throughout her ordeal, McAllister steadfastly proclaimed her innocence.
Despite having filed a full report with the Sheriff's Department in following her release in September, including photographs of bite marks and other wounds inflicted during the rape, no one has been charged or disciplined for the rape or for the incidents surrounding McAllister's incarceration.
Attorney Johansson stated that he and fellow attorney Dani Williams are prepared to file suit in federal court if the county rejects McAllister's claim. To date, he says, the Sheriff's Department has refused to provide details of their investigation or to release medical records. "Since she was raped, there are very worrisome medical concerns."
The Sheriff's Department had no comment on the case. When reached by phone, the Department's Lt. Lewis said that the claim had not yet come to their attention.
NTAC, the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition, is a §501(c)(4) political advocacy coalition working to establish and maintain the right of all transgendered, intersexed, and gender-variant people to live and work without fear of violence or discrimination.