ACLU files suit on behalf of New York corrections officers

| Thu Jul. 13, 2006 7:14 PM EDT

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit today against the New York City Department of Correction on behalf of two female officers who claim they faced both discrimination and retaliation when they reported sexual and physical assaults by male officers.

"There are supposed to be procedures that protect officers who have been assaulted, but they have proven hollow, and I've been punished for speaking out," says one of the plantiffs, Danielle Simmonds. Simmonds was sexually assaulted by a male officer while she was on duty late at night. She says she followed departmental procedure and reported the assault, but that there was no response and she was given no protection. Her colleague, Sonya Henderson, was beaten severely by her then-partner, who was also her co-worker. He was arrested, but the DOC took no disciplinary action against him, despite his repeated violations of a court order of protection. The officer in charge of investigating the charge against Simmonds' perpetrator has never contacted her and has never returned her calls, though the incident occurred over a year ago.

Both women maintain that they have been treated with "hostility and suspicion" by their supervisors and have been the objects of multiple disciplinary actions.

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