CHARLESTON - The case of a man who claims he was raped and harassed in Huttonsville Correctional Center has been transferred from Randolph Circuit Court to Kanawha Circuit Court.
John Heath White, who is currently in Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville on charges of forgery, uttering and obtaining money by false premises, charges Huttonsville Warden Jerry Hainey, movement coordinator William Haines and West Virginia Department of Corrections Commissioner James Rubenstein with being at fault for his harassment while at Huttonsville in Aug. 2000 and is seeking nearly $800,000.
"The plaintiff was denied proper protection, help from administration and was harassed and retaliated against because of his grievance writing," says the lawsuit, which originally was filed July 22, 2002.
The case was transferred March 14.
In the complaint, White details being raped in the prison shower and being ignored by prison officials. He also claims that Hainey insulted him and disregarded his complaint the night it happened.
The lawsuit says that Hainey responded to White's grievance by saying, "Hell, you're gay anyway. It couldn't have hurt that bad. You will heal. Besides, the ringleader has parole. They won't bother you anymore."
When White asked to be moved from Dorm 2, where the incident took place, he says Hainey told him, "I will put you in the old segregation if you're scared but you will not move to another dorm. I (expletive deleted) told you anyway that they wouldn't bother you anymore. Besides, some of them don't even live in that damn dorm, so get the hell out of here so I can go home."
White says he was forced to live in the same dorm for another month and that Olin Gaskins again confronted him in the shower, though White escaped that time.
White alleges that Gaskins was upset that he was not able to sodomize him in 1998 when the two lived in the same dorm, so on Aug. 8, 2000, he and approximately six other inmates beat him in the shower then watched as Gaskins raped him. White says a pillow case was put over his head.
White also alleges that guard Eric Lucas "ran his hand with a piece of mail up my leg, into my shorts and into my rear end using one of his fingers or his thumb."
Because he is gay, White claims, he was taunted even by staff. He says Hainey, after learning that White was friends with a black man, harassed him.
"He said it was bad enough I was a faggot, but I didn't have to mess with the darkies," the lawsuit says.
Since its original filing, the defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss on the grounds that state employees could not be sued as individuals in their working capacity. Judge Paul Zakaib has been assigned the case.
White is requesting a restraining order prohibiting the defendants or any other Department of Corrections employe from using his exercise of his constitutional rights to access to courts as a basis of denying him proper rehabilitation; psychological counseling for his emotional problems; $120,000 in compensatory damages; and $650,000 in punitive damages.
Dorwin J. Wolfe is representing White, and Charleston attorney Lou Ann Cyrus is handling the defense.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-576