Kevin Parrish, a 20-year-old student from Upper Marlboro, was arrested on a drunk driving charge at 3 a.m., Feb. 20 and taken to the Prince George's County Detention Center. He was to wait there for a few hours, until his mother could arrive with $50 to bail him out.
But his mother came too late.
While Parrish was behind bars, two inmates grabbed him and shoved him into a cell, out of sight of the guards. For 10 minutes, they slugged him in the stomach and beat him on the face. Then one of them exposed himself, tore Parrish's pants, and demanded that Parrish give him and four of his friends oral sex.
When it was all over, Parrish went to the jail's medic with blood pouring from his face, arms and chest. His nose was broken and he had two black eyes.
An hour later, about noon, his mother paid the bail bondsman and Parrish was released.
While detention center officials believe there are fewer than 10 rapes a year among male inmates in their Upper Marlboro institution, rapes and violent sexual assaults such as the one Parrish experienced occur much more frequently, according to a number of guards and inmates.
In on-the-record interviews, 10 guards, 60 inmates and one jail medical worker said there are approximately a dozen incidents of forced sex each week in the jail for men awaiting trial or sentencing.
The victims of these violent acts are, of course, in custody at the time, but most are legally innocent citizens. About 70 percent of the jail's 450 inmates are awaiting trial, some on such charges as drunken driving, shoplifting and trespassing. They are in jail because they do not have enough money to post bond or have not been able to contact a bail bondsman -- during the weekend or at night -- and they are easy prey.
The problem of jail rapes is so well known that judges sometimes put men they consider vulnerable on probation rather than send them to the jail after they are convicted.
"This is the kind of thing that's so bad you shut your mind to it," says Prince George's County Circuit Court Judge Vincent Femia. "It's easier to blot it out than to come to grips with the fact that it's happening in our own society."
According to guards and inmates, rapes and sexual assault cases in the county jail share certain characteristics:
* They occur in cells out of sight of any guard. Before the assaults, inmates make sure cell bars are covered with newspapers and turn up their radios. Even when a victim screams for help, guards often do not respond until it is too late. Guards do not patrol the cells for hours at a time.
* They are gang rapes, in which three or four men typically approach an inmate and kick, beat and punch him. Then they force sex on him. About two cases per week involve anal penetration, the rest oral sex.
* The rapes are particularly violent. In one case, rapists admitted to jamming a toilet bowl brush and toothbrush into the rectum of their victim. Some beatings have been so vicious that victims have been taken to Prince George's General Hospital with broken ribs, broken bones and punctured lungs.
* Many of the rapists are charged with or convicted of murder or armed robbery and are placed in cell blocks with those awaiting trial on nonviolent charges.
* The rapists are usually heterosexual; many have wives and children. In almost all cases, the victims also are heterosexual.
* The victims normally do not press charges against their attackers. Even in cases where rape victims say they wanted to, they say guards or police discouraged them from doing so. As a result, the rapists rarely are punished.
It is not known whether the rape problems in the Prince George's County jail are more or less serious than in other jails throughout the country. Few people have studied the problem of jail rapes; those who have studied it tend to produce many more theories than facts. Perhaps as a result, the problem of jail rape is not a public issue; only rarely is it even a topic of discussion at conventions for jail officials, according to penologists.
Yet it is a problem with serious consequences. Men who were raped in the county jail say the experiences left them shocked, disoriented and unable to concentrate on their upcoming trials. Of 15 victims who were interviewed, three were later treated in mental institutions.
"It was like I needed someone to take my hand and guide me," said victim Gary McNamara of his reactions after his rape. "I've never been like that before. I've always known what to do."
The inmates who escape rape often do so by behaving much more violently in the jail than they normally do. After months of such behavior, they said in interviews, they became capable of committing crimes that were far more serious than the ones that sent them to jail.
The rapists offer different motives for their actions. "It's more a violence thing than a sex thing," explained Francis Harper, a convict who admits to raping three men in the jail. "When they cage a person, it makes a person real bitter and angry, and you don't know exactly who you're angry at. So you have these feelings and you take them out on somebody else."
On the surface, it may appear that race is a factor, but the rapists suggest that color masks the real issue: Those who learn to act violently on the streets--black or white--continue to act violently in jail, raping men who are not used to defending themselves.
The director of the Prince George's County Detention Center, Arnett Gaston, says that rapes and sexual assaults occur in his jail, but he believes that estimates of 12 a week are an exaggeration. He said he knows that eight rapes occurred last year and six the previous year. "If you remove some of the emotionality that surrounds this issue, you'll see it's not a serious problem," Gaston said in an interview.
One reason Gaston may think there are so few rapes, according to guards, inmates and a jail medical worker, is that the vast majority of jail rapes and sexual assaults are not reported. Some former inmates said in interviews that they raped a number of men in the county jail who never reported the rapes. Some victims said that they did not tell guards about their plight because they believed that the guards could not protect them from retaliation by the rapists or the rapists' friends; other former inmates said that they had witnessed rapes and sexual assaults that were not reported to guards.
Even when rape victims tell guards or medical technicians that they were raped or sexually assaulted, the jail does not consider their cases "reported" unless the victim presses charges or unless there is clear medical evidence, according to jail spokesman Jim O'Neill.
Guards say they know the rapes and sexual assaults occur in large numbers because many of the fights they see or hear about involve sexual violence. In interviews, 10 current or former guards and a jail medical worker said they have come to accept that rape is a normal part of life in the detention center. "At first it shocks you, but then after a while it's just another rape," said one current guard, Gerry Giovinazzo. "Even though you don't like it to happen, you get used to it because it happens all the time."
Guards say they are unable to protect inmates from rapes because the poorly designed jail makes it impossible for guards to see into most cells from their watch posts. The guards say they could minimize that problem by patrolling the cells more often than once every eight hours, but that there aren't enough of them to do that. Also, they say, there would be fewer rapes and sexual assaults if inmates had individual cells. Because of overcrowding, they say, most of the cells are left unlocked to give inmates room to move about.
On each of the three shifts, 15 guards watch 400 male inmates. (The jail grounds also house about 25 men on work release and about 25 women. The exact numbers change daily.) Ten guards watch the inmates on a constant basis from the control booths, where they can see into common areas but not into the cells -- where most rapes occur. The other five roam the corridors of the jail, transporting inmates and responding to emergencies. A total of 150 guards work at the jail, but many of them perform administrative duties and do not guard inmates.
The guards, who work alone, say that even when they are aware of rapes in progress they cannot protect the victims because they are afraid for their own safety.
"Being alone, seeing a situation where you have several angry inmates, they [the guards] kind of wait until they get backup and by then whatever is transpiring is over with," says Maj. Gerald Rice, who was the jail's security director until last year and still works there.
Jail employes aren't the only ones in the justice system who recognize jail rapes as a way of life. Judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers in Prince George's County say they are aware that inmates are often raped at the county jail.
"One of the reasons you shouldn't break the law is that you get raped in that jail," says Prince George's Circuit Court Judge David Ross, a highly regarded juvenile court judge and a former delegate to the Maryland legislature.
As the following six cases illustrate, rapes occur because guards aren't around or don't respond to cries for help, or simply feel unable to help because there aren't enough of them and their view of the cells is limited. THE COOK
Tyrone Blair, 26, a restaurant cook who lives with his sister and brother-in-law in Hillcrest Heights, got into an argument on Nov. 6, 1981, with his brother-in-law, Robert Lee McKnight.
As a result, McKnight put Blair out of the house and Blair threw a rock through McKnight's living-room window, shattering it, according to court documents.
McKnight called police, and Blair was charged with malicious destruction of property. When Blair failed to show up for his trial, he was sent to jail in lieu of $2,500 bond.
On Jan. 8, two days after Blair entered the jail, he was moved to section 2B. One hour after he entered the cell block, around 2 p.m., he was raped just a few yards from the guard, whose view was blocked by the position of the cell and by newspapers that were stuck to the bars with toothpaste.
Blair's account of the rape was corroborated in interviews with the men who he said raped him, William Daniels, 22, and Perry Edon, 30.
Daniels, from Bladensburg, was charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery and is now serving a life-plus-eight-year sentence for those crimes at the Maryland Penitentiary in Baltimore.
The other man, Perry Edon, 30, of Northeast Washington, was serving a 90-day sentence for failure to provide child support. Edon said that he raped Blair because he felt that he had to go along with Daniels or he would be raped himself.
According to Blair and his attackers, this is how the rape occurred:
Soon after Blair entered the cellblock, Daniels "hit me real hard on my face." Blair, who is short and slim, hit him back. But he was overpowered by Daniels, who grabbed him and forced him into a cell.
Inside the cell, Daniels threatened him with a "shank," a knife made in jail, and demanded that he perform oral sex. Blair, who says he was frightened, followed Daniels' directions.
"He gave it up," said Daniels.
Meanwhile, Edon was standing in front of the cell, blocking Blair's exit. When Daniels walked out of the cell, Edon stepped in.
"We just took turns on him," Edon said. "He was weak and we took advantage of him . . . . I gave him the impression that he had to do it or I'd take his teeth out. I feel bad about it today and I felt bad while he Blair was doing it. But I was in jail so I had to put on another image."
Blair's rape was reported to a guard by a youth who witnessed it, according to Blair and his attackers. Two hours after the youth reported the rape, the guards removed Blair from the section.
Blair says he initially wanted to bring charges against the rapists, but he felt he was discouraged from doing so by the county police detective who interviewed him.
"He said this guy's in there for life already, and he has other charges from D.C. too," Blair said.
The sex squad detective denied making the remark. "I wouldn't have told him that," the detective said.
No charges were brought in the case.
Blair's rape is not included in the jail's list of rapes even though he reported it to a guard, who recorded the incident in an official report.
Nearly a month later, on Feb. 1, Tyrone Blair pleaded guilty to destroying his brother-in-law's living room window. District Court Judge Thomas Brooks gave him a suspended sentence.
Blair feels as though he is still being punished. "Sometimes I have nightmares about it or if I sit and watch TV I think about it," he says. "Then I get up and talk to someone or do something to try to get my mind off it."
The rape also has made Blair question his sexual identity. His former girlfriend, who at one point did not know about the rape, called him a "punk" during an argument and, "It made me feel like maybe she had seen something about me, like maybe the rape had changed me," he says.
They subsequently broke up. Blair has made amends with his brother-in-law. THE WAITER
Ronald Fridge, 18, a waiter from Riverdale, got into an argument with his landlady on Nov. 17, 1980, over his $220-a-month rent.
After shouting at her in the hallway, he stormed out of the rooming house.
The landlady then, according to court documents, found that a window in his room was broken and the window frame battered.
She phoned police, who arrested Fridge three hours later and charged him with malicious destruction of property.
Fridge was acquitted in a trial before District Court Judge Francis A. Borelli on Jan. 5, 1981.
One week before his acquittal, while in the Prince George's County Detention Center, Fridge says he was raped.
His account of the rape was corroborated by a former jail inmate, Gerald Frost, 23, of Oxon Hill, who said during an interview with a reporter that he helped another man rape Fridge.
Frost was awaiting trial on a charge of robbery at the time; the other man's charges could not be determined.
The rape occurred on the third floor of the jail, in the "upper right" section. Most inmates in the section were free to roam in and out of the cells.
Fridge, however, had been in a locked cell because he had been beaten earlier by inmates, but a guard unlocked his cell shortly before the rape, according to Fridge and Frost.
By their accounts, no one was at the guard's desk at the time of the rape. Attempts to contact the guard for comment were unsuccessful.
According to Fridge, the two rapists grabbed him in a cell, beat him on his face and chest, and raped him anally.
"I had blue marks all over my skin," said Fridge.
Says Frost, the man who admits to helping rape Fridge: "The first time, my buddy grabbed three magazines, rolled them and started slapping him Fridge . I was laughing because it was funny to me. Then I hit Fridge with a tray and he fell on his knees. My buddy said, 'We're going to bang him.' I said no but he did it to him, on the bunk."
Hours later, when the guard returned to the cell block, Fridge reported the rape and asked to be moved to another section, he says.
But he wasn't moved until two days later, according to jail records, when Fridge says he complained again. In the meantime, he says he was raped again and again.
At the jail, Fridge's rape is not on the list of reported rapes. There is a record of the incident, however.
Fridge is still angry.
"Can you imagine going to jail for nothing and going through all that?" he asks. "I have nightmares about it. It makes you lose your mind." THE REPAIRMAN
Gary McNamara says that he had been in the jail in Upper Marlboro for only one week after his arrest on Nov. 26, 1981, when he was suddenly awakened by a pillow stuffed against his face. Seconds later he felt hands grabbing his arms and legs and his naked body was lifted, dropped and pressed against the cold floor.
McNamara, a 27-year-old Bowie resident who is an air conditioner repairman, was awaiting trial on charges of stealing some jewelry from a department store. He says he did not steal the jewelry. He has not yet gone to trial.
He recalls that when he hit the floor, someone sat on his back and other people pinned down his arms and legs. A towel was thrown around his mouth and yanked tight at the back of his head.
While he struggled, his stomach scraped the floor. All the while, he could hear his assailants laughing.
"I felt something, I think it was a fist, shoved inside of me," says McNamara. "I felt sheer terror."
He had been assigned to the 3D area with about 35 other inmates, most of whom had been charged with armed robbery or murder, according to jail guards. McNamara's cell was a few feet from the guard. During the rape, however, the guard could not see into McNamara's cell because inmates had draped the entrance to the cell with black plastic trash bags, according to McNamara.
After the rape, McNamara says, he stayed in his bunk for hours, stunned. Finally, he wrote a note, got up, and slipped it to the guard, who was sitting in a glass booth nearby. "I am having a problem. I wish to be transferred," the note said, according to Sgt. Cindy Barry, a jail supervisor.
McNamara said he did not tell the guard he had been raped because he was afraid that the inmates would harm him if they found out he had "snitched."
Soon after McNamara turned in the note, the guard escorted him downstairs to the classification section, where McNamara told jail counselor Al Cohen that he had been assaulted and wanted to move to a different section. Cohen, who did not ask for details, agreed to move him that day, according to jail spokesman Jim O'Neill.
About a week later, McNamara visited the jail medical technician, a man who has less training than a registered nurse, but McNamara did not tell him he had been raped. "I was afraid it would get back to them," he said, referring to the men who raped him.
McNamara says that he told the medical technician that he had received some black and blue marks from an assault the previous week, but the technician did not ask to see the marks, which were on his back and legs.
McNamara says he does not know the identities of the men who raped him. At the jail, there is no record that he was raped. THE LIEUTENANT
The events leading to the rape of a 31-year-old graduate of the University of Maryland began in 1976 when he was a first lieutenant in the Air Force. While he was in Greenland, a U.S. military plane crashed, and the man led rescue workers in the gruesome six-day-long job of sifting through wreckage and identifying the 21 dead.
The lieutenant was awarded a meritorious service medal for his efforts, according to a certificate signed by then-secretary of the Air Force Thomas C. Reed, but he suffered serious psychological damage including recurring nightmares and flashbacks that interrupted his ability to work. He was diagnosed as schizophrenic and put on the Air Force's temporary retirement list, according to a letter from Capt. Raymon E. Aldrich, director of personnel program actions.
While the lieutenant was eating in the Plain and Fancy Donut Shop in Hyattsville on Dec. 22, he says his mind flashed back to the plane scene, and he imagined he was identifying dead bodies. He began throwing salt and pepper shakers and knocked over the cash register.
"I was thinking I couldn't dig the dog tags out of their skin by myself," he said in an interview. "I was stuck in that time."
Restaurant employes called police, and the man was arrested for disorderly conduct. He was taken to the Prince George's County Detention Center, where he was held for more than two months awaiting trial, although the charges against him eventually were dropped.
The lieutenant says he was assaulted and raped twice while he was in jail. During an interview at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Perry Point, Md., the lieutenant told how the rapes occurred:
On Feb. 24, around 2 p.m., while he was in the "cell block left" section of the jail, three inmates began assaulting him and taunting him. "I'd be sitting down and they'd take my legs and flip me over like a chicken," he said. "They'd say, 'We're going to f--- you.' They were monsters."
The lieutenant says he complained to the guard that three inmates were trying to rape him. But the guard, who was sitting about two yards away in the hallway, did not help him. "He told me that I had to defend myself," the lieutenant said. Attempts to contact the guard for comment were unsuccessful.
The lieutenant says that he did not feel he could defend himself against three inmates, so he went into a cell draped with newspaper. There, the inmates demanded that the man perform oral sex.
He obliged. "I figured that would satisfy them," he said. "I went along with it because I didn't want to get hurt, get my teeth knocked out. One of them had calves this thick," he said, spreading his hands eight inches apart.
It did not satisfy them--or at least not two of them, who pulled down the man's pants and forced anal sex with him.
During an interview, one of the alleged rapists, Thomas Coates, 25, confirmed that both he and two other men forced the lieutenant to perform oral sex; in addition, Coates said, he and another man anally raped the lieutenant.
Another man, Carroll Hawkins, 22, said that he was the "lookout man" for Coates during both rapes.
"I watched out for the dude while he was doing it to him," Hawkins said. "As far as me having sex with the dude, not me."
The third alleged rapist, now out of jail, could not be reached for comment.
The lieutenant told a guard about the rape 11 hours after it happened. By then, there was a different guard at the watch post, and the inmates who raped him were asleep. The guard took him to the jail medical technician, who confirmed that he had been anally raped, according to jail medical records.
The lieutenant says he signed a paper at the jail saying that he wanted to press charges against the rapists. But none was charged.
"He said that he didn't want to press charges," said jail Sgt. Cindy Barry. THE STUDENT
Parrish, the 20-year-old student who was charged with drunken driving, was in jail cellblock 1A less than one hour when he was sexually assaulted.
He was standing in the common area of the cellblock when an inmate first pushed him into a cell out of the guard's view.
Two of the men whom Parrish identified as his assailants confirmed Parrish's account. Clifton Tucker, 19, a convicted armed robber who was in the county jail awaiting a judge's reconsideration of his sentence, said that he hit Parrish "in the stomach and he lost his wind. Then I hit him on the nose and broke his nose."
Tim Lipscomb, 22, who was awaiting trial on an armed robbery charge, said if Parrish had not escaped from them he would have been forced to perform oral sex with Tucker and "six dudes besides him."
At one point during the beating, Parrish managed to push his way out of the cell so that the guard could see him. But the guard, according to Parrish, Tucker and Lipscomb, was asleep. "He [the guard] was kicked back in his chair and his feet were up on the desk," said Tucker. "If he was awake he would have seen him [Parrish]."
Lipscomb says that he grabbed Parrish and threw him back into the cell. Then he and Tucker started beating Parrish again, demanding that he perform oral sex. Parrish refused. After several minutes, Parrish managed once again to bolt out of the cell; he ran to the guard's booth and banged on the glass, screaming for help.
"When he [the guard] woke up, he was in shock," said Tucker. "He picked up the red phone and started calling the other guards. They let Parrish out and then they came for us."
Jail spokesman Jim O'Neill said the guard told him he could not remember anything about the incident. At the jail, there is no record that the guard was asleep.
Parrish went to the jail medic, who cauterized his broken nose, put bandages on his wounds and wrote a medical record, according to Parrish and a man who works in the medical technician's office.
"He was bleeding like a stuck pig," said the man who works in the jail medical office. "It wasn't dried blood; it was fresh blood."
The jail has no medical record of Parrish's injuries, according to jail spokesman Jim O'Neill. At the jail, Parrish's case is listed as an assault rather than as an attempted rape.
Parrish identified his assailants from mug shots supplied by the jail guards. At first, Parrish told the guards that he wanted to bring charges against his assailants. Then he changed his mind.
"I was talking to this guard about bringing charges and he said, 'It's up to you; you do what you want. But if you come back here there's always the possibility that they'll retaliate against you.' "
Parrish could not remember the name of the guard who he says made the remark. He says his mother agreed with him the guard that he should not press charges. Minutes later, Parrish walked out of the jail and met his mother, who drove him home in the family station wagon.
"I never thought something like that could happen to me," says Parrish. "But then I never thought I'd be in jail."
Lipscomb said one reason for the assault was boredom. "There's nothing to do but play cards there," he said. "There's no recreation on the outside so you get recreation on the inside. Rape for rec." THE SALESMAN
Lance Estes Purdy, 32, an auto parts saleman from New Carrollton, was arrested Nov. 5 after stabbing 20-year-old Brian Trimble in the stomach when Trimble got on Purdy's motorcycle. Purdy, who had never been arrested before, was jailed without bond while awaiting trial.
On Nov. 6, Purdy was put in a section of the jail known as 3A with about 30 inmates who had been charged with or convicted of murder.
One hour later, around 11 p.m., Purdy was raped by five inmates and was brutally beaten. His rape was confirmed by the jail medic and by physicians at Prince George's General Hospital.
This is how Purdy describes what happened to him:
"I lit up a cigarette and someone said I had to go to a cell if I wanted to smoke. So I went into a side cell and sat down on a bunk to smoke. Then four or five of them came up to me and hit me in the face with their fists. They told me to roll over. I yelled for the guard and they started kicking me. They banged my head against the wall, tore my clothes off and all of them raped me. It went on for about a half hour." The guard, who was sitting in a glass booth just a few feet from the cell where Purdy was raped, phoned for help. He no longer works at the jail and could not be reached for comment.
Minutes after the rape, several guards ran into 3A and found Purdy naked on the floor of the cell. Blood was pouring from his face and chest.
Purdy was taken to the medic's office in the jail, where medical technician James Proffitt confirmed that he had been raped, according to medical records. Then Purdy was taken to Prince George's General Hospital, where his injuries were diagnosed as a punctured lung, a broken rib and a black eye as result of the beating he suffered during the rape, according to hospital medical records. He underwent surgery for the punctured lung and spent nine days in the hospital.
Purdy was able to identify only one of his assailants. He originally wanted to press charges, but later changed his mind, according to a state's attorney.
The charge against Purdy was reduced from assault with intent to commit murder to malicious stabbing, and he pleaded guilty in February. On March 29, he was sentenced to five years' probation by Circuit Court Judge Jacob S. Levin. Purdy is now at home, working part time.
Today, he thinks of his real sentence as the rape, rather than the probation, "I've been dazed since then," he says. "I lose my train of thought a lot. Sometimes someone will talk to me and it's like they're waking me back to reality." THE SERIES
Men are getting raped in the Prince George's County Detention Center -- violently and frequently. County jail officials, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges are somewhat aware of the problem, but for the most part ignore it. And so the rapes continue, hidden from public view yet with serious consequences to society.
The Post studied 24 cases of male rape and sexual assault that occurred in the county detention center from 1978 through 1982 and chose 12 to illustrate different aspects of the problem.
The rapists' names were obtained through interviews with victims. Most of the rapists were interviewed in Maryland prisons where they are now incarcerated. A few, who are now out of jail, were interviewed in their homes. For the most part, they spoke freely about the rapes they committed, characterizing them as a routine part of jail life, where the norms have little relation to norms on the outside.
The victims' names came from sources in the jail and the county courthouse. Those whose names are mentioned gave permission for their names to be used. Most of them were interviewed in their homes.
Rape is such a routine occurrence in jail that those inside the system -- both inmates and guards -- say the cases seem at times to run together. Only the victims and the culprits change; the techniques, the circimstances, the motivations remain the same.
But to each victim, the details are unique -- and cannot be forgotten.