Courts & Crime

Lawsuit alleges private prison company failed to stop rape

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A private prison company has asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit of a Kentucky woman who says she was raped while a prisoner at Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright, Ky.

The facility, run by Corrections Corporation of America, is at the center of investigations by Kentucky and Hawaii into allegations of repeated sexual assaults. The inquiries were prompted in part by the reported rape of a Hawaiian woman at the prison in June.

CCA has contracts with both states to house prisoners at Wheelwright.

In documents filed this week in federal court in Pikeville, CCA says the Kentucky woman never filed a formal grievance about the rape and therefore the civil lawsuit she filed July 2 should be dismissed.

The woman is suing the company, several of its officials and the Kentucky Department of Corrections for failing to prevent the rape.

Kevin Younce, a former prison guard, was convicted of second-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor, for the July 3, 2008 sexual assault of the woman in Floyd County. A bench warrant is outstanding for his arrest, according to court records. He moved to North Carolina before he was convicted.

The case of the woman from Hawaii is scheduled to be presented to the Floyd County grand jury next month, said Kentucky State Police Trooper Mike Goble.

Kentucky prison officials are investigating alleged sexual assaults at Otter Creek going back to 2006, said Lisa Lamb, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

"These include allegations or incidents that were previously reported," she said. "We are reviewing every allegation regardless of the disposition."

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