The trial of a male prison officer in Indiana who allegedly accepted money in exchange for allowing male inmates to enter the cells of 28 female inmates and sexually assault them for several hours last year, was postponed for the fifth time, this time for September 20.

David Jason Lowe, 30, who was due to stand trial on August 9, is accused of providing the keys to two inmates to unlock the women’s cells, most of them remand prisoners being held for minor offenses .

The two inmates brought other inmates with them, according to a police report based on a videotaped interview with Lowes. In it, he admits he was paid $1,000 for what prosecutors called “trafficking” women “with an inmate.” Lowe also admitted to leaving the door leading to the women’s cell open to inmates.

Lowe told police that after taking the money and providing the keys to the inmates, he “turned his back on the door to allow the inmates access”. Part of the incident was captured on cameras inside Clark County Jail, which happens to be the setting for A&E’s “60 Days In,” which highlights its violent and volatile environment.

A civil lawsuit recently filed in the case against Lowe with Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel and unnamed deputy sheriffs provides a more detailed account of the violent attacks suffered by women.

“The men threatened, assaulted and raped the women for several hours,” the complaint states.

According to the complaint, some of the detainees covered their faces with towels. A few hours after the attack began, one of the female victims was able to reach an emergency button and activate it. Many of them cried out for help. But no one came to their aid.

When prison guards finally showed up at the women’s cells, they informed the women that they had “lost their dark privileges”, according to the complaint. He also alleges that the women were subjected to a shakedown, during which guards took many of their personal belongings.

The Betteau Law Firms in New Albany, Indiana, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the women, are seeking damages for the pain and suffering the women endured during the sexual assaults.

According to the vital records of the case, Lowe is 5’6″ tall and weighs 140 pounds. He is listed as being from New Salisbury, Indiana.

The state charged Lowe with one count of aiding, instigating, or causing the escape of inmates, a low-level felony. He also charged him with official misconduct, also a low-level felony, and one count of trafficking an inmate, classified as a Class A misdemeanor under Indiana’s penal code, at the same as minor theft or drunk driving.

Lowe was not charged under the tougher state accomplice liability laws. Under the laws, a person is charged with second-degree committing when they “knowingly or intentionally assist the first-degree committing in committing the crime”.

In 1996, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released the findings of a nearly three-year study, “All Too Familar: Sexual Abuse of Women in US Prisons.” It revealed a disturbing trend of male correctional officers regularly sexually assaulting female inmates.

“In committing such gross misconduct, the male officers not only used actual or threatened physical force, but also used their near-total authority to provide or deny property and privileges to female inmates in order to coerce them into having sex. “, said the investigation. report bed.

The report also found that male officers often used compelled searches or room searches to grope women “and view them inappropriately while undressed in living quarters or bathrooms.”

According to one report, the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners was once used to prevent male officers from working in contact positions with female prisoners. However, HRW said in its study that this changed with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made it illegal to deny someone a job on the basis of their gender.


Alice Giordano is a former news correspondent for the Boston Globe, the Associated Press and the New England bureau of the New York Times.