West Virginia Record

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Fourth lawsuit accuses Alderson official of sexual abuse, harassment and rape

Federal Court

By Chris Dickerson | Nov 20, 2019

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BLUEFIELD – A fourth lawsuit has been filed accusing officials at a federal prison camp in West Virginia of sexually abusing and harassing female inmates.

The latest plaintiff, identified only as B.M., filed her federal complaint Nov. 19 in federal court. The complaint says she was an Illinois resident charged and convicted of a drug-related offense. She served some of her 10-year sentence at Federal Prison Camp Alderson.

The defendants are listed as the United States, FPC Alderson, Alderson Warden David R. Wilson, Captain Jerrod Grimes and Lt. Workman.


Grimes

“Our firm and Jay McCamic represent 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.”

In January 2017, the plaintiff says she had begun firefighter practice at the prison. That required direct communication with Grimes. Soon, she says Grimes’ had targeted her for sexual abuse.

“Grimes repeatedly held clandestine meetings with plaintiff in empty or unobserved spaces at FPC Alderson, wherein he forcibly kissed and raped her,” the complaint states.

In September 2017, the plaintiff was called to Grimes’ office after she had requested a transfer.

“I know you want a transfer,” he told her, according to the complaint. “The paperwork goes through me.”

Then, she said Grimes forcibly kissed her before he repeated his comments again, adding that he would sabotage her pending transfer if she didn’t comply with his sexual advances.

“Grimes forced plaintiff to write … that she liked him, that she wanted him, and that she wanted him to know it,” the complaint states. “Grimes kept the form for himself to blackmail and threaten plaintiff to not tell anyone about his abusive behavior.”

The following month, B.M. again was called to Grimes’ office. He told her to stand up, pull down her pants and bend over a chair. She refused.

“I told you that the transfer goes through me,” Grimes told her, according to the complaint. “If you don’t do what I want, then you won’t get what you want.”

Then, she says Grimes raped her.

Similar incidents occurred shortly after the first incident, including once after her transfer had been approved but before she was moved to Pekin Federal Prison in Illinois on Dec. 17, 2017.

That same month, 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, harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress; Wilson and Workman of failure to intervene and intentional infliction of emotional distress; and the government of negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

B.M. 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.

Three 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-00819

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Organizations in this Story

Calwell Luce diTrapano PLLCU.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia Bluefield Division

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