Lawsuit accuses wardens of allowing sexual assaults at Oklahoma women's prison

by Andrew Knittle Modified: July 27, 2013 at 7:00 pm •  Published: July 27, 2013
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Eleven women doing time in Oklahoma prisons have filed a federal lawsuit claiming they were sexually assaulted by three guards at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center.

They also said in the suit that high-level administrators failed to fix surveillance cameras that might have captured these acts.

The women — a group that includes convicted murderers and a woman caught on camera attempting to smother her own child — filed a lawsuit July 19 against the state Corrections Department, two former prison guards, the prison's former warden and a guard who still works at the prison in McLoud.

The alleged assaults started in December 2010 and continued on until late 2012, court records show.

Two of the former guards named in the lawsuit, David Juber and Jamie Baker, already have been charged with numerous sex crimes in Pottawatomie County.

Gilbert Dildine, who still works at Mabel Bassett, has not been charged with any sex crimes at this point.

The suit claims surveillance cameras in certain parts of the women's prison “were either not properly installed in the area or kept in an ongoing state of disrepair,” and that Juber, Baker and Dildine took advantage of this during the alleged sexual assaults.

The state Corrections Department and high-level administrators at Mabel Bassett are accused of allowing the assaults through negligence.

Former Warden Millicent Newton-Embry and the facility's current Deputy Warden Carla King are named in the suit.

Newton-Embry now serves as the agency's coordinator for the Prison Rape Elimination Act, a federal law enacted in 2003 to cut down on sexual assaults in the nation's prisons.

“Prior to the incidents ... (Newton-Embry and King) had a long history of ignoring complaints of inmates and daily notices of guards which indicated that video surveillance cameras, lights, doors and buzzers were either improperly installed in a particular area or kept in a state of disrepair,” an attorney for the women wrote in a petition.

“This has been known for some time, especially when inmates were involved in an altercation or something was stolen ... On such occasions, inmates had been told that it would be impossible because the cameras were not working.”

Corrections Department spokesman Jerry Massie said the agency will not comment on the lawsuit, which seeks a judgment in excess of $100,000.

“We haven't even been served with it yet,” he said of the suit.

Details of lawsuit

Baker, who is charged with numerous counts of rape and other sex crimes in Pottawatomie County District Court, is accused in the lawsuit of sexually assaulting nine female prisoners.

The alleged assaults carried out by Baker, according to the lawsuit, took place over a six-month span starting in June 2012. He began working at the state Corrections Department in May 2012, Massie said.

Juber also is charged with sex crimes in Pottawatomie County. Dildine has not been charged with any crime in Oklahoma.

In the lawsuit, Juber is accused of sexually assaulting the same woman “several times” between December 2010 and May 2011.

Most of the assaults allegedly carried out by Baker, Juber and Dildine took place in a staff bathroom or in a supply closet, court papers show.

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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