Incarcerated Trans Woman Sues NY Prison Over Sexual Assault

A transgender woman has filed suit against Sullivan Correctional Facilities in Fallsburg, New York for allegedly failing to protect against a rape by a fellow inmate in February 2013.

The Advocate, citing The Associated Press and Slate, reports that LeslieAnn Manning, who was housed in a maximum security male facility, says officials knew she was a transgender woman at the time of the alleged assault. Manning had previously fought to received hormone therapy, grow out her hair, wear female undergarments and legally change her name.

"In February 2013, Manning says she was at performing her job as a letter typist and deliverer for disabled inmates when she was attacked. In her suit, she claims that her work area was poorly supervised, allowed inmates to move freely, and was a gathering place for sexual offenders after their program meetings were held there. When, following her job duties, Manning delivered a letter to an inmate who sat alone in a room at the end of a hallway, she was allegedly grabbed from behind by him, raped, and told she would be killed if she told anyone." 

According to Manning, officials at the facility were "deliberately indifferent" to her elevated risk for attack--which, as a transgender woman, she faces a high chance of--"demonstrated by their failure to protect her from the assault."

"Deliberate indifference" to safety has previously been declared by the Supreme Court as "cruel and unusual punishment" in the 1994 case of Farmer v. Brennan, and is therefore a violation of the Eighth Amendment. Sullivan officials have not commented publicly on the lawsuit. Manning has been moved to protective custody at an alternate facility.