Arizona Says Rape Victim Knew The Risks, Asks For Lawsuit To Be Thrown Out

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February 4, 2015 3:49 p.m.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office filed a motion in a lawsuit this week saying a teacher knew the risks she was taking when she was left alone in an unguarded prison classroom with a convicted sex offender who allegedly raped her, the Arizona Republic reported on Tuesday.

The woman eventually filed a federal lawsuit questioning why she would be left alone with no way to defend herself while teaching a group of sex offenders.

Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Weisbard delivered a motion on Monday to dismiss the lawsuit, the newspaper reported.

“Plaintiff is an ADOC (Arizona Department of Corrections) employee who routinely worked at the prison complex,” Weisbard wrote. “By being placed in a classroom at the complex, the officers were not placing Plaintiff in any type of situation that she would not normally face. The risk of harm, including assault, always existed at a prison like Eyman.”

Weisbard also wrote that there was no proof that the corrections officers were aware of any risk to the teacher.

“Plaintiff wants to create an artificial impression that the ADOC officers knew she was in danger but she did not know,” Weisbard said. “It makes no sense. Of course, if Plaintiff did appreciate the danger of her situation, as an employee, she could have done something about it.”

The alleged rape and vicious assault occurred on Jan. 30, 2014 when a teacher who worked for the Arizona Department of Corrections was administering an exam to seven sex offenders at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Eyman, the Republic reported.

The woman was reportedly in an unmonitored room and was given only a radio to communicate with should there be a problem, according to her lawsuit.

When the test was over, six of the inmates left, leaving only the teacher and a 20-year-old inmate named Jacob Harvey, the lawsuit said. Less than a year before, Harvey was reportedly sentenced to approximately 30 years for the rape of another Arizona woman, which occurred in front of her toddler during a home invasion.

The teacher’s lawsuit alleged that Harvey grabbed her from behind and wrestled her to the ground. Although she screamed for help none arrived. During the assault, Harvey reportedly stabbed her in the head with a pen before slamming her head into the floor, tearing her clothes off and raping her.

After the attack, according to the suit, the woman tried to radio for help but it was set to an unused channel and no one responded. The lawsuit said Harvey himself eventually let the woman phone the guards.

The inmate remains in prison and is awaiting trial on charges related to the attack, the Associated Press reported on Monday.

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