Court Reinstates Lawsuit over Huerfano County Jail Conditions

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Denver (AP) An appeals court has reinstated a lawsuit filed by an inmate against a former Huerfano county sheriff.

Michelle Tafoya sued in 2002, alleging that former sheriff John Salazar allowed conditions that led to her being sexually assaulted by an officer at the county jail.

A federal judge had dismissed the lawsuit on grounds that Tafoya failed to show that Salazar knew of a substantial risk of harm to female inmates, or that his management directly led to her being assaulted in 2001 by Officer Alan Ruiz, who also was named in the lawsuit.

Last month, a panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit court of appeals reversed the dismissal.

It said Tafoya was assaulted three years after two other female inmates were assaulted by detention officers, who had an “undisciplined culture of ‘anything goes.’”

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