Milwaukee County Jail

Former Milwaukee County Jail inmate raped and shackled during childbirth awarded $6.7 million

A woman was awarded $6.7 million after suffering repeated abuse in Milwaukee County Jail

Charlie May
June 8, 2017 4:30PM (UTC)

A woman who said she was repeatedly raped by a guard while she was held in the Milwaukee County Jail four years ago was awarded $6.7 million by a federal jury on Wednesday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The jury held that the guard who sexually assaulted her, Xavier Thicklen, was acting as an employee at the time of the incident, according to the paper. Thicklen was charged with sexual assault, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and has since been fired.


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"She was raped repeatedly at the age of 19. She sought justice and she is glad the system delivered that justice," Theresa Kleinhaus, a Chicago attorney who litigated the case with other attorneys from the firm, told the Journal Sentinel. "She hopes to prevent other women from being sexually assaulted in the Milwaukee County Jail."

In her testimony, the victim — who was pregnant when she was jailed in 2013 — claimed she still had nightmares of the incidents and that she was assaulted "in various places in the jail."

The same jury also found that there was "no legitimate purpose" for her to be shackled to her hospital bed while she was in labor in a different incident. The jury determined that she wasn't eligible for monetary damages for being chained to a hospital bed during childbirth, because she was not physically injured by the restraint.

Sheriff David Clarke apparently had no qualms about the shackling, claiming in a deposition that the practice was necessary for the protection of the hospital staff. Clarke did not testify during the trial but has been at the center of various controversies over the years involving accusations of neglect or abuse of law enforcement power.

Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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Milwaukee County Jail Sexual Assault Sheriff David Clarke The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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