Federal lawsuit claims former correctional officer raped by supervisor at Telford prison unit

Telford Unit

A former correctional officer who claims she was raped by her supervisor is suing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The woman alleges she was sexually harassed, sexually assaulted, raped and physically intimidated by Sgt. William Forte while on the prison grounds from “the summer of 2012 to early 2013,” according to the complaint. The woman claims she didn’t immediately report Forte to police or TDCJ administrators because she was afraid and because Forte had threatened her.

The allegations against Forte were allegedly reported to TDCJ higher-ups in January 2013 but the agency was slow to investigate or take action. According to TDCJ, Forte was fired in December 2013, months after the alleged sexual abuse was brought to the attention of administrators.

“TDCJ was also previously aware of allegations of Sgt. Forte’s assaultive behavior but failed to take any meaningful steps to discipline or terminate him,” according to the complaint.

The plaintiff in the suit left her job with TDCJ in early 2013. According to the complaint, the woman now suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, “remains haunted by the experience,” and can’t work.

The lawsuit lists violations of federal law prohibiting sexual discrimination and sexual harassment. Texarkana attorney Glen Hudspeth is seeking damages for the woman for her lost wages, lost benefits, extreme emotional distress, and physical and psychological pain and suffering. The woman is also seeking punitive damages.

The suit was filed Tuesday in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas by Texarkana lawyer Glen Hudspeth and assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder.

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