Women sue city, prison for housing them with male inmate

Four Philadelphia women are suing the city and county of Philadelphia and nearly 60 prison officials and departments for providing inadequate training to officers and contractors, allowing the women to be incarcerated with a man at the female-only Riverside Correctional Facility.

The 81-page complaint filed in Federal Court alleges that inmate Jovanie Saldana’s arrest papers stated that he was a man, that he was repeatedly strip searched and subjected to medical exams and that at at least one correctional officer was aware of his gender, but allowed Saldana to stay in exchange for oral sex and other favors.

It also says that prison officials only realized Saldana’s gender after Saldana complained that he was being forced to perform sexual favors for the high-ranking correctional officer and that officials then attempted to cover up the gaffe by deleting information.

The women claim that during Saldana’s nearly 14-month stay, he made threats of violence and sexually harassed them, including groping, leering and making repeated sexual overtures. They are asking for punitive damages for civil rights violations, the intentional infliction of emotional distress and conspiracy.

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