An inmate has filed a grievance against the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, alleging medical mistreatment by jail employees in the wake of accusations that his cellmates raped him.
The man told corrections officers earlier this month that he was sexually assaulted with a hot sauce bottle and by two men, according to court documents.
He is not being named by the Herald because of the sexual assault allegations.
Since the rape report on May 9, the inmate says jail staff have not provided adequate medical care for his injuries. Employees ignored requests for treatment and didn’t provide medication or change his bloody clothing, according to the grievance dated May 15.
The document said the conduct of jail staff “amounts to negligence and outrageous behavior.”
“At times certain jailers are even making derogatory comments related to the rape I suffered,” wrote the inmate. “I have only been given aspirin at the jail for my pain that has continually worsened during the past week.”
Officials with the sheriff’s office told the Herald they could not talk about specific allegations because an investigation is ongoing. Undersheriff Dan McCary confirmed the case has been sent to prosecutors to review for possible charges.
Yakima attorney George P. Trejo Jr. told the Herald he is representing the inmate and soon may be filing a civil suit against the county.
Trejo appeared Tuesday in Franklin County Superior Court on the inmate’s felony case. He asked Judge Cameron Mitchell to reduce his bail from $20,000 to $10,000, saying the man’s mother took the day off work to be in court and she will ensure he follows court conditions if he’s released.
Trejo said the man needs immediate medical care, including a diagnosis of his injuries.
“What makes this case so sad and sickening at the same time is that he was raped by three inmates, and the damn jail refuses to acknowledge it. As he is standing here today he is in pain,” Trejo said. The attorney went into graphic details in court about his client’s medical problems.
Deputy Prosecutor Frank Jenny said the inmate is receiving medical care in the jail and has been seen by several doctors, and that the man has not objected to his treatment so far.
Judge Mitchell said a doctor needs to give a clear report of what treatment is necessary. However, Mitchell would only drop the bail to $15,000, questioning whether the man will obey court orders and if he is a danger to the community because of his criminal history.
Trejo has sent several letters to sheriff’s officials and Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant asking for more medical treatment for the inmate.
In 2003, the victim of rape at the jail was awarded $400,000 as part of a federal lawsuit filed after he was sexually assaulted and county employees ignored or didn’t take reasonable actions to ensure the safety of inmates and the victim.
In the current case, the man was housed in a four-person unit with Juan D. Mendoza Alvarez, 19, Andres D. Mendoza Alvarez, 20, and Alejandro Saldana, 19.
During the investigation, nine Tapatio hot sauce bottles were taken from the cell. Sheriff Jim Raymond told the Herald his office is reviewing the sale of hot sauce bottles to inmates from the jail commissary.
Raymond initially said the bottles were made of glass. But retired jail Capt. Rick Long — who worked under former Sheriff Richard Lathim for more than 20 years — has disputed that claim, saying the Tapatio bottles sold to inmates were plastic.
He said it is common practice in most jails that once inmates purchased items from the in-house store, including snacks, toiletries and flip flops, they are able to keep those in their cells.
On Tuesday, one of the rape suspects, Andres Mendoza, was sentenced to three months in jail to reduced charges of cocaine possession and possession of marijuana over 40 grams. He’s already served the time. He also has been in custody on a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.
His brother, Juan Mendoza, was released to immigration officials on May 19 after charges of possessing cocaine and methamphetamine with intent to deliver were dropped. Prosecutors can refile the charges at a later date.