Male Regional Jail Inmate Alleges Severe Attack by Correctional Officer

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
Male Regional Jail Inmate Alleges Severe Attack by Correctional Officer

HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) –  A complaint filed by Huntington attorney Michael Woelfel has alleged abuse of a male inmate by a Western Regional Jail correctional officer.

Naming  the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority, the action filed  December 29, 2010 in Cabell County Circuit Court alleges that then Western Regional Jail inmate Joseph Harper was maliciously wounded, assaulted and battered by a correctional officer.

The incident occurred in February 2009.

Michael Woelfel , along with Matt Woelfel and Kerry A. Nessel , have filed complaints against various state jail facilities in state and federal court regarding misconduct by jail personnel. The Charleston Gazette quoted Woelfel in November 2010 stating a pattern of misconduct by male guards has occurred at the Southern Regional Jail, Beckley Correctional Center and Lakin Correctional Center.

According to a November 2009 story in the Herald Dispatch, twenty one women had sued claiming sexual harassment, groping and sexual assault (a.k.a. rape) which took place from the summer of 2005 to January 2009.

Twenty-one women had then filed lawsuits claiming they were victims of sexual misconduct while in West Virginia prisons and jails, including one case that has resulted in a $100,000 pending settlement, according to attorneys representing the women.

The lawsuits contend the misconduct ranged from sexual harassment and groping to sexual assault, also known as rape, and occurred from the summer of 2005 to January 2009.

The published Gazette report stated that the firing of then Regional Jail Authority Director Terry Miller came amid both allegations of sexual harassment by female employees and larger problems within the regional jail authority.

According to a federal complaint filed February 26, 2010 by attorneys Matt and Mike Woelfel on behalf of Rebecca Duty, the then inmate alleged that on more than five occasions a correctional officer “ejaculated in the plaintiff’s mouth” “rubbed her buttocks and fondled her breasts,” and other sexual abuse “usually in the hours past midnight” at the Southern Regional Jail.

The complaint alleges that correctional officers, Christopher Dameron and David Stoner  “threatened plaintiff with bodily harm and with pretextual disciplinary action.


The federal complaint alleges that the plaintiff endured “extreme cruel and unusual punishment” while in the SRJ and that the Jail Authority exhibited “deliberate indifference and disregard for the welfare of the plaintiff.”


Asserting violations of her constitutional rights, one portion of the complaint states:

“The conduct of Defendants Stoner and Dameron was atrocious, intolerable and so extreme and outrageous as to exceed the bounds of decency and so outrageous as to offend community notions of acceptable behavior, giving rise to a claim of compensatory damages against each Defendant and punitive damages against Defendants Stoner and Dameron.


“Defendants Stoner and Dameron each sexually abused and sexually harassed Plaintiff. Various sex acts and sexual misconduct occurred. The identity of Defendant Dameron recently was confirmed by Plaintiff’s counsel. Defendant Dameron repeatedly threatened the Plaintiff when she was at the Southern Regional Jail. Defendant Dameron threatened “to put a bullet” in the Plaintiff’s head. Multiple threats were made against Plaintiff. Plaintiff is, and was, fearful of filing a civil action against Stoner and Dameron. Plaintiff continues to be in fear of each as she is incarcerated at Lakin Correctional Center under the authority of the WVDOC. Defendant Dameron’s threats have continued beyond her transfer from SRJ and were conveyed to her since being transferred to Lakin Correctional Center. Tolling of applicable statutes of limitation has occurred as contemplated by West Virginia Code, 55-2-17. David Stoner and Christopher Dameron each obstructed Plaintiff in the exercise of her civil rights.”