An inmate who filed a federal lawsuit claiming he was raped last year as a 17-year-old at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison and infected with the HIV virus was actually 18, the Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.
The inmate also alleged in his suit filed Monday that he is mildly intellectually disabled, but East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks disputed that claim in a written statement.
"Medical has told our staff they have no record of this inmate having any reported or having observed problems in terms of mental capacity," Hicks said in the statement released Tuesday in response to The Advocate's request for comment a day earlier.
Medical is an arm of the city-parish, not staffed by the Sheriff's Office, she explained.
The inmate's suit alleges he was raped by an older inmate in February 2017 before the younger inmate turned 18, but Hicks said an investigation by sheriff's detectives and all evidence collected indicates the rape occurred in May 2017 when the inmate was 18.
Update: Sheriff disputes key claims in alleged Baton Rouge inmate rape, HIV infection
Joseph Long, the younger inmate's attorney, reiterated Tuesday that his client is mildly intellectually disabled and said he planned to meet with him Tuesday evening to discuss the dates alleged in the lawsuit.
Hicks' response says Long's client was placed in the adult prison population only after he turned 18. He was booked in mid-2016 on counts of burglary and theft of a firearm when he was 17, she said.
Hicks said the inmate did not report the rape to anyone at the prison, but prison staff intercepted a note being passed to another inmate the next day. He was taken to medical for treatment, she added.
"Treatment for any incident in which an inmate is potentially exposed to the HIV virus whether or not we know the other inmate is HIV positive at the prison includes anti-HIV medications," Hicks stated. "This treatment is provided whether or not the perpetrator or victim reportedly have HIV."
The suit claims Sheriff Sid Gautreaux and Parish Prison Warden Dennis Grimes should have known the younger inmate's alleged attacker was HIV positive.
"Legally, we cannot provide you with information if an inmate has or has not tested positive for HIV," Hicks said.
Long acknowledged Wednesday he has not seen any medical records supporting his 18-year-old client's claim that he tested positive for HIV.
"I have not seen any medical records," Long said, adding that he requested the records Monday. He has not yet received them.
The older inmate is being held at Parish Prison on charges alleging he raped a woman at a Baton Rouge casino in 2015. Long also represents that woman in her suit against the casino.
Hicks said the perpetrator in the jail rape was charged the same day detectives discovered the rape, May 21, 2017, which was the day after the rape occurred. He was charged with rape and aggravated battery, she said.
Hicks said inmates are not HIV tested when they enter Parish Prison.
"Medical asks, but the inmate would have to self-report," she stated. "An inmate does not have to take an HIV test if they do not want to. However, the jail does regularly randomly test inmates that will voluntarily agree to be tested."
The inmate's suit claims the older inmate should have been separated from the rest of the prison population, but Hicks said some 224 Parish Prison inmates received HIV treatment last year.
"We cannot logistically segregate them nor can they be housed out of parish, because medical (city/parish) is responsible for providing them with their approximately $1,500/month treatment" per inmate, she said.
The inmates' suit seeks monetary damages. It has been assigned to U.S. District Judge John deGravelles.
Editor's note: This article was changed on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, to note that the attorney representing an inmate who claimed to have been raped has not seen any medical records supporting his client's claim that he tested positive for HIV.