CHARLESTON - Two former inmates at a state correctionaL center filed a suit against the Division of Corrections, claiming a supervisor at the center sexually harassed them.

Beverly Carson and Ryan McKown filed the suits July 11 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Dave Masters, who allegedly assaulted them, violating their constitutional rights.

The West Virginia Division of Corrections and Commissioner Jim Rubenstein also are named as defendants.

The women claim Masters sexually assaulted them while they were incarcerated at the Anthony Correctional Center in 2006 and 2007.

According to the suit, a continuing practice and pattern of sexual harassment, abuse and assault has existed against inmates, by one or more of the officers.

"This practice could not continue to occur without the tacit approval of supervisory staff of the West Virginia Division of Corrections employed at The Anthony Center," the suits say. "A conspiracy to conceal such sexual misconduct is ongoing and involves Anthony Correctional Center personnel."

Carson and McKown claim the Division of Corrections owed them a reasonably safe confinement facility, as well as the duty to properly hire, train, retain and supervise its correctional officers, so that inmates are not subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, sexual abuse, harassment and assault.

The women claim they suffered anxiety, humiliation, annoyance and inconvenience, invasion of privacy, emotional distress, loss of the ability to enjoy life, medical and pharmaceutical expenses and other damages.

In the ten-count suits, Carson and McKown seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Attorney Kerry A. Nessel is representing Carson and McKown.

Kanawha Circuit Court case numbers 08-C-1334 and 08-C-1337

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