Woman sues Division of Corrections for sexual misconduct in Huntington Work Release program

CHARLESTON -- A woman is suing the West Virginia Division of Corrections after she claims she was sexually abused and harassed while she was in the care of the Huntington Work Release program.

C.O. Yates, a correction officer, and an unknown and unnamed person were also named as defendants in the suit.

Angela Cronin was in the legal custody of the Huntington Work Release program when she was sexually assaulted, harassed and abused by Yates, according to a complaint filed April 4 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Cronin claims the WVDOT had a duty to provide a reasonably safe confinement facility and a duty to properly hire, train, retain and supervise its correctional officers as well as to see that the inmates were not subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault or other such conduct while incarcerated.

The defendants negligently breached their duties by failing to provide a reasonably safe facility and failed to see to her safety, according to the suit.

Cronin claims the WVDOT knew or should have known that Yates failed to comply with the laws and standards required of a staff member in his position.

The defendants also negligently failed to establish and provide appropriate staff training programs to educate, train and prevent sexual harassment, sexual abuse and sexual assault in its facility at the hands of correctional officers, according to the suit.

Cronin is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Kerry A. Nessel and Timothy P. Rosinsky.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Charles E. King.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-588

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