Ex-Purdy inmate sues state over alleged assault by officer
A one-time inmate at the Purdy prison is suing the state Department of Corrections, alleging among other things that a corrections officer sexually assaulted her while guarding her hospital room after she underwent surgery.
Wendy Hynd’s attorney, Michael Schwartz, filed the lawsuit earlier this month in Pierce County Superior Court.
The suit contends Hynd, then an inmate at the Washington Correction Center for Women, was in St. Anthony’s Hospital in Gig Harbor on July 18, 2009, for treatment of an infection when corrections officer Lonnie Cherry assaulted her.
Hynd later reported the alleged attack to prison officials. Cherry was placed on administrative leave from Nov. 10, 2009, to Sept. 18, 2010, while an investigation was conducted, Corrections Department spokeswoman Selena Davis said.
Department officials declined to provide the results of the investigation, but Cherry, who has worked for the department since September 2000, returned to work at the prison. Cherry then “stalked and harassed” Hynd, the lawsuit alleges.
“He would go by her pod where she was residing and also her classroom,” Schwartz said. “It was just him being around her in places where he wasn’t assigned to be.”
The suit contends prison officials did not do enough to safeguard Hynd and failed to protect her from Cherry’s retaliation. Hynd says she suffered mental and physical harm and that she had to seek therapy after the alleged assault. The lawsuit is seeking money to cover those costs, as well as compensation for attorney’s fees and “loss of enjoyment of life.”
Hynd was locked up in November 1999 for second-degree assault, attempted theft, theft and unlawful possession of a firearm stemming from incidents in Snohomish County. She is now at a work-release house in Seattle and is set to be released Nov. 5, Davis said.
The lawsuit blames the Corrections Department, Cherry, and Jane Parnell, the superintendent of the Purdy prison, who oversees the welfare of the inmates.
The Corrections Department has 20 days to respond to the lawsuit. Davis said she can’t comment on pending litigation.