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Lawsuit Claims a Ferguson Corrections Officer Raped a Woman in Jail

A federal lawsuit filed on Friday claims a pregnant woman was arrested by Ferguson police and raped by the officer who booked her.

by Payton Guion
Nov 18 2014, 12:00am

Photo by Andrew Bardwell/Flickr

The police department in Ferguson, Missouri has another controversy on its hands, with a new lawsuit alleging that a St. Louis county woman was raped by a Ferguson corrections officer after she was arrested in October of 2013.

A federal lawsuit filed on Friday says that over a year ago, a pregnant woman — referred to in the lawsuit as J.W. to protect her identity — was stopped by a Ferguson police officer for a traffic violation before allegedly being raped at the jail by Jaris Hayden, the corrections officer who was booking her. The arresting officer had no involvement in the alleged assault. 

The lawsuit claims that Hayden removed J.W. from her holding cell and took her to the jail's boiler room, where he forced her to perform oral sex on him before he raped her. During the incident, J.W. was able to get a sample of pubic hair, which DNA testing has proven to belong to Hayden, according to the lawsuit filing.

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Neither the Ferguson Police Department nor Hayden's lawyer, Scott Rosenblum, returned calls for comment on Monday.

Hayden, who was fired shortly after the incident, was arrested on four felony charges on November 12, including sexual contact with a prisoner and acceding to corruption by a public servant, according to a report from the St. Louis Business Journal. He posted a $10,000 cash bond the same day he was arrested. 

The incident began when J.W. was stopped on October 9, 2013 for having an expired license plate. She provided the police officer with a fake name and was arrested for providing false information. Hayden was responsible for taking J.W.'s photo and finger prints when J.W. arrived at the jail, and wasted little time before making questionable comments.

The lawsuit claims that Hayden said "You smell good" and "This will teach you a lesson" to J.W. while he was booking her. Hayden then put her in the holding cell, where J.W. complained of pains and discharge relating to her far-along pregnancy.

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According to the suit, Hayden called paramedics who examined J.W. before telling Hayden that it was up to him as to whether or not J.W. would be released to them or would stay in jail, the lawsuit says. Hayden sent the paramedics away. Then Hayden reportedly took J.W. out of the cell and had her sign papers. While she was out of the cell, Hayden allegedly said to her "You're the type of girl that can get me in trouble." J.W. begged Hayden to let her go, saying "I will do anything to go home."

The lawsuit claims that J.W. said that as an emotional plea for her freedom. Hayden then took her into the jail's boiler room where he unbuttoned his pants and pulled out his penis, either telling J.W. that "You gonna suck my dick," or motioned for her to give him oral sex. J.W. performed oral sex on Hayden and before he climaxed, Hayden pulled J.W. farther into the boiler room, motioned for her to bend over, and began having sex with her. Out of fear, J.W. did not resist, according to the lawsuit.

After raping her, Hayden is accused of sending the woman out a side door of the jail, telling her to stay close to the building to avoid detection from surveillance cameras. J.W. then went to a Subway restaurant, where she put the pubic hair into a bag and called her sister, who took her to the emergency room.

According to the , in a statement issued on Monday, the City of Ferguson, which is also called out in the lawsuit, said, "Immediately upon learning of the complaint against Mr. Hayden, the City undertook an investigation which resulted in Mr.Hayden's termination from employment. In addition, City officials and employees cooperated with federal authorities with respect to the matter. Mr. Hayden was terminated on November 19, 2013. He had been a corrections officer for the City of Ferguson since May 25, 2012."

Hayden is expected to appear in St. Louis County court on December 3 for his arraignment.

In a separate controversy, last week a video surfaced of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson — the same officer who shot and killed 18-year-old black man Michael Brown this summer — threatening and arresting a man who was legally videotaping him.

Ferguson police have been under heavy scrutiny since the killing of Brown, who was unarmed at the time of his death. That incident set of a series of violent protests in the mostly black St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Police claim that Brown was acting aggressively toward Wilson, who is white. Brown's family and some witnesses say he had put his hands up in surrender before Wilson shot him.

A grand jury is set to make a decision any day as to whether it will charge Wilson in Brown's death. Ferguson police have been preparing for more protests to follow the grand jury's decision and today Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency ahead of the pending report.

Darren Wilson could keep his job in Ferguson if grand jury doesn't indict him. Read more here.

Follow Payton Guion on Twitter @PaytonGuion.