CHARLESTON —Three former inmates each filed lawsuits against a corrections officer, an unnamed individual and a state corrections department alleging sexual abuse and harassment.
Nathanial Barkley, a corrections officer in the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the WVDCR itself and one or more unnamed persons all were named as defendants in the suits.
Kimberly Anderson, Chelsea Smith and Christian Haney filed the lawsuits in Kanawha Circuit Court.
The plaintiffs claim they were housed at the Tygart Valley Regional Jail awaiting transfer to the state prison facility when they were sexually assaulted, harassed, abused and exploited by Barkley, a corrections officer at TVRJ. They claim WVDCR owed them a duty of safe confinement and to take measures to ensure they were not subjected to cruel and unusual punishment or sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation.
Barkley previously had acted inappropriately with female inmates at TVRJ and was removed from the female cell block at one point, but he was allowed to return after a short period of time, according to the suits.
The plaintiffs claim on numerous occasions they were sexually harassed, abused and exploited by Barkley. They claim he also ordered them to perform sex acts with their cellmates under the threat of retaliation.
John Doe acted within the scope of employment when being deliberately indifferent to the acts of sexual harassment, sexual abuse and retaliation against the plaintiffs by Barkley and other corrections officers, the women claim.
The plaintiffs claim Barkley and other corrections officers violated clearly established rights and laws, and are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are represented by Timothy J. Manchin and Joseph D. Garcia of Manchin Injury Law Group.
Kanawha Circuit Court Case numbers 18-C-1465, 18-C-1467, 18-C-1470