HELENA — A convicted rapist who wants the state Corrections Department to pay for a sex-change operation claims in his latest court filing that he may kill himself if he doesn't receive treatment by the time he turns 45.
Ronny Darnell, convicted in 2005 of repeatedly raping a 13-year-old Newkirk girl, wrote in a motion filed Tuesday that he is starting to lose hope.
Darnell, who refers to himself as a woman in court documents, is representing himself in federal court.
“Ms. Ronny Darnell has made a pact with herself that if at age 45 she had not achieved her goal of getting back on her hormone therapy ... she would consider life hopeless and meaningless,” the inmate wrote.
“She has no active suicidal ideation, but there is a sense that in the absence of becoming a female, she would not choose to continue living as a male,” the inmate wrote.
Darnell will turn 45 on June 21, records show.
Darnell, who filed the lawsuit in September, wrote that suicide may not be his only option if his demands aren't met.
“One area of concern is the potential (for suicide) if this last chance to achieve her lifelong desire is denied,” he wrote.
“I believe that she would be a great risk for self-harm, perhaps mutilation, if not suicide.”
In earlier court filings, Darnell disclosed that he has attempted to “castrate” himself on more than one occasion while behind bars.
In addition to the $20,000 sex reassignment surgery, Darnell is demanding laser hair removal treatments, female hormones and treatment from a doctor who specializes in gender identity disorder, with which he claims to be afflicted.
Gender identity disorder is characterized by an overwhelming sense by those afflicted that they would be happier if they were the opposite sex.
Claims of cruelty
In his lawsuit, the inmate is claiming that various state Corrections Department employees, including Director Justin Jones, are subjecting him to cruel and unusual punishment by not providing treatment to him.
Jerry Massie, a spokesman for the department, said the state will provide hormones to inmates, but only under certain circumstances.
“There's only one official (gender identity disorder) offender,” Massie said. “On this particular person ... they had had some procedures done prior to incarceration, so it's medically appropriate to prescribe the hormones.”
Massie said another inmate is receiving cross-gender hormones “for a medical issue not related to (gender identity disorder).”
The hormones, which Massie did not name, range in price. The monthly prescription for one of the inmates is $158.73. The other's is only $3.73 per month.
Darnell's federal lawsuit is pending and he recently asked a judge to appoint a lawyer to his case.