Female inmate at Pruntytown claims former maintenance worker sexually harassed her

By Chris Dickerson | Dec 19, 2005

Pruntytown Correctional Center

CHARLESTON – A female inmate at the Pruntytown Correctional Center claims a former maintenance worker at the facility sexually harassed her for about two years.

Tammy Sherrell Wilson, a 44-year-old serving a life sentence with mercy, says Jim Boliger subjected her to lewd behavior, including sexually suggestive and harassing remarks and unwanted sexual advances.

In a suit filed Dec. 8 in Kanawha Circuit Court, Wilson sues Boliger, Pruntytown warden James Ielapi, deputy warden Debbie Minnix, associate warden Lewis Stevens, institutional investigator Tammy Alberico and the State of West Virginia by and through the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety and the Division of Corrections.

In the suit, Wilson claims that from late 2001 until October 2003, Boliger harassed her in a variety of ways at the center located in Taylor County near Grafton.

"Boliger exposed his genitals to the Plaintiff without her consent on numerous occasions," the suit claims.

Also, "On at least one occasion, Defendant Boliger did forcibly cause his genitals to touch the Plaintiff's cheek, without her consent."

As part of her work privilege at Pruntytown, Wilson cut hair.

"On at least one occasion, while Plaintiff was cutting Defendant Boliger's hair, Defendant Boliger fondled Plaintiff's breast, without her consent," the suit claims.

On Oct. 20, 2003, the suit says Wilson pleaded with Ielapi and the other officials listed as defendants to help her in correcting Boliger's behavior and to keep him out of contact with her. She then was asked by authorities to allow the wiring of her living quarters for so they could observe Boliger when he was alone with Wilson.

She agreed. After it was wired, Boliger was sent to her living area. The suit says he entered the area and "made sexual remarks and overtures, and ultimately exposed his genitals to her."

Authorities then intervened, and Boliger either was fired or resigned from his position.

Wilson sues Boliger and the facility officials for the violation of her civil rights, battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

In the suit, filed by Middlebourne attorneys Gary L. Rymer and D. Luke Furbee, Wilson seeks compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees and other relief deemed just by the court.

She seeks a jury trial and for the defendants to be permanently enjoined from violating her civil rights.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis "Duke" Bloom.

Pruntytown opened in 1891 as the West Virginia Industrial School for Boys and served as a juvenile facility until it was closed in 1983. It reopened in 1985, housing minimum custody adult male inmates whose primary work function was to renovate the facility.

In 1988, 32 adult female prisoners who were housed under contract at the Federal Correctional Institution for Women at Alderson to the Pruntytown Correctional Center, making it the state's first adult co-ed correctional facility.

Today, Pruntytown can house 75 females and 293 males. In addition, it has an eight-bed diagnostic unit for females sentenced by circuit judges for pre-sentencing evaluations and a 24-bed substance abuse treatment unit and an additional 24 beds designated as pre-treatment.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 05-C-2678

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