Fairfax County Sheriff James D. Swinson, who was ordered last December to pay $20,000 to a county jail inmate who was sexually assaulted while in custody, agreed this week to pay $7,500 to a second inmate who was similarly assaulted.
The $7,500 will go to an 18-year-old as settlement of a $350,000 damage suit filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. In the suit, the 18-year-old, identified only as John Doe II to spare him humiliation, said he was sexually assaulted by Kennedy Bryant, 17, while Bryant was awaiting trial on murder and malicious assault charges. The suit accused Swinson of negligence in operating the jail.
Last December, a U.S. court jury ordered Swinson to pay $50,000 to "John Doe," 19-year-old inmate, in a similar suit, but that award was reduced to $20,000 by U.S. District Judge J. Calvitt Clarke Jr.
According to Swinson, both the out-of-court settlement and the earlier award are covered by insurance.
Swinson commented: "I predicted after the first case that there would be more. You get one who thinks he can get a dollar for nothing and he'll go after it."
He said sexual assaults "are going to happen unless you sit there and hold every man's hand. I can't keep them from doing it.
"This kind of stuff has gone or in jails, barracks, aboard ship," the sheriff serted. "I don't know what else I can do unless he (the inmate) has enough backbone to stand up and resist."
Carl P. Horton, an attorney for John Doe II, said his client agreed to settle the suit out of a desire to avoid testifying.
"My client has suffered what I imagine many women suffer" when they are raped, Horton said. "It makes him just as upset to discuss what has happened again and again. He just did not want to go back and testify again."
John Doe II had testified at the trial of a sodomy charge against Bryant last November, that Bryant sexually assaulted him on Sept. 18 shortly after the 10 p.m. lockup of a cell they shared.
Bryant was convicted of sodomy, then had the charge reduced to a misdemeanor assault on appeal last month.
Swinson has said inmates are allowed to choose their own cellmates and that guards regularly patrol corridors, but there are some places, such as showers, where inmates cannot be watched.
In the first John Doe case, the 19-year-old said he was sexually assaulted twice on the night of Feb. 9, 1975 by three prisoners. Two of the prisoners later were convicted of sodomy in the case and a third pleaded guilty.
A damage suit against Prince William County Sheriff J. A. Rollins is pending in U.S. court in Alexandria. In it, a 16-year-old runaway from a Prince William County foster home asks for $500,000, claiming he was sexually assaulted while held in the Prince William jail last Nov. 12 while awaiting disposition of his case.