A series of lawsuits alleging statewide sexual abuse in corrections facilities names Brocton’s Lakeview Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility. “There are about 28 Lakeview cases spanning from approximately 1997-2019,” according to Molly Myman, speaking on behalf of the New York City lawyers filing the suits.
More than 750 people are represented in the lawsuits, timed to coincide with a “look back window” mandated in the state’s Adult Survivors Act that begins Thursday. Attorneys Ben Crump and Adam Slater, who are filing the suits, announced them during a Wednesday press conference in Manhattan.
The lawsuits allege that New York State was aware of, but failed to take action against, sexual abuse perpetrated against female detainees by corrections staff.
Two medium-security women’s prisons, Bayview in Manhattan and Albion in Orleans County, were named in more than half of the cases. Bayview has 222 claims against it and Albion has 164. Bayview closed in 2012, while Albion remains open. Some other notorious facilities rank high on the caseload list. Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County is in third place with 79 claims, Rikers Island in New York City has 64 and Taconic has 54.
“The detainee-guard relationship is one of the most extreme imbalances that exists today,” Slater said during his press conference. “Under New York State law, a person in correctional custody is legally incapable of consent. Officers and guards in these facilities have an unmatched arsenal of methods for exerting their will upon victims: physical confinement, force, withholding of privileges, and total control over their environments. They can threaten punishment or revoke privileges to force their victims into submission and silence. “It is a truly tragic failure of our society that incarcerated persons are treated as second-class citizens and not human beings.”