Hawaii prison guard files sexual harassment lawsuit - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii prison guard files sexual harassment lawsuit

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A prison sex harassment lawsuit has been filed. The State Department of Public Safety is being sued, accused of not keeping an employee safe.

The plaintiff is a 34 year old woman. She had just started working as an adult corrections officer last August. But just a month into the job she was the one who felt like a prisoner.

The case begins on Facebook. A veteran guard friended the rookie which she accepted. Just 10 minutes later the first naked picture arrived.

"Thereafter he began to send her explicit text messages with photographs of his genitalia and also requests for sexual contact with her, requests for intercourse with her and the like," said Joseph Rosenbaum, plaintiff's attorney.

The lawsuit says she repeatedly asked him to stop but it went on eight months. She got fed up when her teenage son got involved.

"Her son actually was holding her phone at the time she received these sexually explicit photographs via text message," said Rosenbaum.

She filed a formal complaint in March but six months later her attorneys say they continued to work the same shift and she would get more harassing and stalking texts.

"It's been hell for her to go to work. She's had to go through therapy. She's in treatment, she's trying to keep her job but in this particular context its egregious to think the Department of Public Safety wouldn't step in and do something about this," said Victor Bakke, plaintiff's attorney.

They say the same guy harassed another female employee and another guard's wife. That's why they've filed a lawsuit hoping to teach employers they must address the issue of sexting and stop unwanted messages immediately.

"The explicit pictures, it's just unbelievable that people send these types of images to other people and think there won't be any recourse and think it's just a joke," said Bakke.

They aren't laughing. They want the defendant fired and the lawsuit wasn't specific but says they are seeking more than $50,000 in damages.

The State Department of Public Safety says it has not been served with the lawsuit and will reserve comment until their lawyers have reviewed the case.

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