Pen inmate raped in cell files suit Negligence by 5 guards is alleged

February 20, 1993|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,Staff Writer

An inmate who was sodomized at the Maryland Penitentiary has filed suit against the state and five correctional officers, claiming that the guards' negligence made it easy for another prisoner to assault him.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Baltimore Circuit Court by lawyers for inmate Cornell Scott Jr., said the guards "facilitated" access to Scott by another inmate who has a history of sexual offenses at the penitentiary. Scott is seeking $1 million in damages.

In the suit, Scott claims that on May 18, 1992, the officers broke prison regulations by letting inmate Arthur Beasley out of his cell unattended, allowing him access to other tiers.

In an infraction report written the next day, Beasley admitted that while he was out of his fifth-tier cell, he went to Scott's cell on the third tier and raped him.

According to the suit, Beasley boasted of the rape to enhance his reputation as the "godfather" of the penitentiary.

"We're alleging that it was negligence and that they intentionally allowed the rape to happen," Scott's lawyer, David F. Albright Jr., said yesterday.

Stuart Nathan, an assistant state attorney general in the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, which runs the penitentiary, said his office was not familiar with the lawsuit and could not comment.

Scott, 24, is serving a life sentence for a 1986 murder conviction. Beasley, 47, is serving a life sentence for a 1973 murder conviction. Both are still in the penitentiary.

According to the report of an investigation by the guards' shift commander, the incident began when Beasley asked to be let out of his cell to get a plumbing tool to unclog a toilet. Beasley was let out although the inmates in his area were not scheduled for recreational release until several minutes later, said the report, a copy of which was submitted as evidence by Scott's lawyers.

Beasley then went to the third tier, where he assaulted Scott, the report said.

The report said one officer wrongly let Beasley out of his cell unattended and that another officer left Scott's cell open for a period of time. The latter officer tried to get another guard to falsify a report of the incident, it said.

The investigation also found that guards:

* Did not keep track of Beasley after he was released from his cell.

* Did not inform another guard that Beasley had not returned to his cell or obtained the tool.

* Did not immediately place a notice of infraction against Beasley after finding him on the third tier.

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