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Ex-inmate claims she was raped, seeks $4 million in suit

October 25, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

By MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

A second former Washington County Detention Center inmate who says she was raped in her cell at the jail last year is seeking more than $4 million in a civil lawsuit filed against the state, the county and an ex-guard.

The suit, filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court in mid-October, was brought by a woman who calls herself "Jane Doe" to mask her identity throughout the legal process.

The woman alleges she was sexually assaulted on March 19, 2001, by Michael A. Garner of Hagerstown, then a guard at the Washington County Detention Center.

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In a previous civil suit filed in Baltimore on May 30, Jodi Abrams alleged she was assaulted on March 9, 2001, by Garner in a similar fashion. She is seeking more than $5 million from Garner, the State of Maryland and Washington County.

Abrams, 33, alleges in the suit that Garner threatened to injure her if she didn't consent to a sex act and afterward raped her.

Washington County Sheriff Charles F. Mades said Thursday he hadn't seen the latest lawsuit and therefore would not comment.

Efforts to reach Garner were unsuccessful.

Garner resigned last year in connection with another case in which he admitted having sex with a female inmate.

Both lawsuits allege that the state failed to properly train and supervise guards at the jail and that supervisors at the county detention center failed to protect inmates from sexual assault.

In the Jane Doe suit, the claim was also made that employees known to have a propensity for sexual assault and abuse of power weren't discharged.

Garner pleaded guilty in 2001 to one misdemeanor count of sexual intercourse by a guard. Garner and a 28-year-old female inmate had sex in a medical holding area at the jail on March 17, 2001, Mades said.

In December 2001, Garner was sentenced to 15 months in jail with all but three months suspended. He was released in January after Washington County Circuit Judge Donald Beachley determined the goals of sentencing had been met.

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