ST. LOUIS — An investigation has found that Missouri prison workers failed to properly check on an inmate whose cellmate repeatedly sexually and physically abused him in what the victim’s attorney calls torture.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/2ui6kKe ) reports that the state investigation report it obtained through an open records request showed that workers falsified logs and failed to follow procedures aimed at protecting inmates from other prisoners. The victim’s cellmate, Austin Gallup, had his prison term extended 22 years after he pleaded guilty to forcible sodomy and other charges. The abuse happened in 2013 while the two inmates were locked alone together in one of the more restricted areas of the state prison in Farmington. Gallup was already doing time for statutory rape and sodomy of a child under the age of 14.
The inspector general report is the latest to highlight poor conduct among prison workers. A report that the Post-Dispatch obtained earlier found that the body of an inmate who hanged himself at a St. Louis halfway house remained undiscovered for hours while corrections employees streamed movies and skipped security checks. Gov. Eric Greitens has issued an executive order to create a task force designed to clean up the state prison system.
The report into the 2013 case said the victim was “severely beaten and sexually assaulted” during a time period of five to 10 days. Multiple officers told an investigator that they were too busy to do required checks. Some said it was customary to initial the logs even though they weren’t done at the end of a shift. Some said that there was inadequate lighting and that Plexiglass windows into cells were hard to see through because of dirt, wire and scratches.
The victim, who is serving a 10-year sentence for attempted child kidnapping, filed a lawsuit in February seeking $10 million. The lawsuit said “no correctional officer, case worker, mental health worker or a member of the medical staff observed, checked on, spoke to or had any type of contact” with the victim while he was “literally being tortured.” He claimed that besides being beaten and raped, his cellmate forced him to drink urine and eat feces.
Cira Duffe, one of his attorneys, said she withdrew the case in March to “exhaust administrative remedies” but that it would be refiled. Court records say her client suffered a broken jaw and other harm to his body and genitalia.
The Department of Corrections said in a statement that it “takes any assault on a staff member or offender very seriously and reviews the incident to make sure the appropriate actions were taken, which includes reviewing any policies and procedures to ensure their effectiveness.”
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com