NEW YORK - Over 700 former prisoners are filing lawsuits against the state of New York, alleging the state failed to protect incarcerated women from sexual abuse.
The women say they were intimidated and sexually assaulted by corrections officers while they were incarcerated.
"These rapes and sexual assaults happened numerous times on numerous occasions when I was segregated to my cube/bunk," said Mia Wheeler, one of the plaintiffs.
Among the prisons named in the lawsuit is Bayview Corrections Facility, which was located in Chelsea but closed in 2012. More than 200 cases and claims were logged there.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs say 50 claims were made against Rikers Island.
Attorneys for the victims also say that a key part of their case is a report from the Department of Justice that detailed abuse at Bayview Corrections Facility that was allegedly submitted to the state in 1985.
"You have a report where the federal government is saying loud and clear, ‘rapes are happening on your prisons on a systemic level, change it!’ And they did nothing," said Adam Slater, an attorney.
The New York State Department of Correction said they have zero-tolerance for sexual abuse of any kind but do not comment on pending litigation. The New York City Department of Correction has not issued a statement yet.