CHARLESTON -- Five former inmates of the Southern Regional Jail and Eastern Regional Jail are suing the West Virginia Regional Jail Authority and correctional officers for sexual harassment, abuse and assault.

Each of the five suits were filed separately.

While incarcerated, former Southern Regional Jail inmates Amanda Belcher and Danielle Thornton and former Eastern Regional Jail inmates Darla Kinser, Christina Saylor and Angela Shirley were sexually harassed, abused and assaulted by correctional officers at the jails, according to complaints filed Nov. 16 and Nov. 23 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Correctional Officers Joshua Barrett, Dale Hammonds and David Stoner were named in the suit as the men who sexually harassed, abused and assaulted the plaintiffs.

The women claim they suffered anxiety; humiliation; annoyance and inconvenience; invasion of privacy; emotional distress; pain and suffering; mental anguish; loss of ability to enjoy life; and medical and pharmaceutical expenses because of the abuse.

According to the complaint, the conduct of the correctional officers was reprehensible; willful and wanton; malicious; and in blatant and intentional disregard of Belcher, Thornton, Kinser, Saylor and Shirley's rights.

The women are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are being represented by Kerry A. Nessel.

Kinser's case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman. Saylor's case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James C. Stucky. Shirley's case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis Bloom. Belcher's case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster. Thornton's case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 10-C-2070, 10-C-2071, 10-C-2072, 10-C-2131, 10-C-2142

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