BLUEFIELD – A third lawsuit has been filed accusing officials at a federal prison camp in West Virginia of sexually abusing and harassing her.
The plaintiff, identified only as C.L., filed her federal complaint Nov. 1 in federal court. The complaint says she is a 37-year-old currently serving time at a federal prison in Lexington, Ky. She was convicted of drug offenses and was sentenced to 37 months in prison.
The defendants are listed as the United States, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Federal Prison Camp Alderson, Alderson Warden David R. Wilson, Captain Jerrod Grimes, Correctional Officer Amy Crawford, Correctional Officer Lane, Correctional Officer Hayes, Correctional Officer Gina Honaker, Correctional Officer Chelsea Ryder, Lt. Scott Hall and Lt. Workman.
“Our firm and Jay McCamic represent three of the young ladies that Captain Grimes was convicted of sexually assaulting for which he is serving a 10-year prison sentence,” attorney Dante diTrapano told The West Virginia Record. “This is another example of an institutional failure allowing a person who has all the power and authority to terrorize vulnerable women.
“We look forward to helping these victims.”
On May 31, 2016, C.L. came to FPC Alderson to begin serving her custodial sentence. Soon after, she says Grimes began showing up at the prison chapel where the plaintiff was doing her work detail to “hang out.” She says Grimes leered at the inmates and engaged them in sexually suggestive conversations. One time, Chaplain Gunn was with Grimes and witnessed such behavior while the inmates worked in the chapel.
“Chaplain Gunn had a duty to intervene upon and to report this improper conduct,” the complaint states, noting that Grimes crossed the “boundary violation” line between staff and inmates. “Chaplain Gunn, by failing to intervene or to report this conduct by the captain, tacitly condoned it and contributed to C.L.’s impression – which was widely shared by both inmates and staff at FPC Alderson – that sexual abuse of certain inmates would be tolerated.”
The plaintiff says Grimes also began attending the central dining room where inmates ate lunch and would stare at her in the presence of other inmates and prison staff.
“He paid an inordinate amount of attention to her in the presence of other staff and inmates and used his freedom of movement around the compound to stalk C.L,” the complaint states, noting that Hayes witnessed this behavior and should have reported it.
In January 2017, the plaintiff began working in the training center where prison staff attended in-service training courses. In April 2017, she was working with an inmate identified as A.D. cleaning and storing catering equipment used during a luncheon to celebrate the prison’s 90th anniversary. Grimes ordered C.L. to take some chafing dishes to a storage room in the basement.
“When she reached the basement, Captain Grimes was behind her,” the complaint states. “Standing behind C.L., Captain Grimes brushed his crotch against her buttocks while she bent over to store boxes. C.L. was shocked by this and attempted to relieve the tension of the situation by apologizing in an effort to suggest that the physical contact was incidental or accidental. Captain Grimes replied to C.L. that (the contact) ‘was fine’ and stood there leering at her before she managed to get to the stairs and away from him.”
Days later, Grimes began appearing at the training center where C.L. often worked alone during the day.
“Grimes entered the kitchenette and instructed C.L. to go into the staff bathroom adjacent,” the complaint states. “There, Captain Grimes pulled down C.L.’s pants and sexually assaulted C.L. by repeatedly thrusting his penis into her vulva. This assault lasted less than five minutes and ended when Captain Grimes ejaculated in C.L.’s vagina. …
“From that date, Captain Grimes appeared on a near-daily basis to have sexual contact with C.L. in the bathroom at the Training Center, which was less than a two-minute walk from his home on the FPC Alderson compound.”
The plaintiff says Grimes made it clear that she would suffer if she reported these instances of sexual abuse.
“On another occasion, defendant Grimes attended a visitation between C.L. and her aunt and grandmother,” the complaint states. “C.L. relates that Captain Grimes sat down next to her and conducted himself as if he were meeting the family of his spouse for the first time.”
The complaint also says Grimes would take C.L. to the training center at night during the spring and summer of 2017 to have sex with him. It also says he often used the camp’s “Red Phone” to call C.L. to his office where he would sexually abuse or assault her.
In December 2017, Grimes resigned and left Alderson. He later was indicted and pled guilty to 13 counts of sexual abuse of a ward and abusive sexual contact.
The three-count complaint accuses Grimes of sexual abuse, battery and harassment; Wilson, Crawford, Hayes, Honaker, Ryder, Lane, Hall and Workman of failure to intervene; and the government of negligence.
C.L. seeks compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees, court costs and other relief.
She is being represented by Jay T. McCamic of McCamic Law Firm in Wheeling, diTrapano, Benjamin Adams and Alex McLaughlin of Calwell Luce diTrapano in Charleston and Anthony I. Werner of John & Werner Law Offices in Wheeling.
Two similar lawsuits have been filed in recent months in federal court against Grimes and other defendants. The same attorneys are representing that woman.
Alderson FPC is a minimum-security prison for female inmates located in Summers and Monroe counties. The facility houses nearly 1,000 inmates, and most of them have been convicted of non-violent or white-collar crime. Many are in the drug program and have come from other prisons. Notable inmates have included Martha Stewart, Billie Holiday and Iva Toguri "Tokyo Rose" D'Aquino as well as Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme and Sara Jane Moore, both of whom attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975.
U.S. District Court case number 1:19-cv-00792