A former Louisiana State Penitentiary inmate who claims a then-Angola guard sexually assaulted him eight times in 2014 — the last time after he complained to prison officials — should have been immediately moved to another prison or the officer should have been swiftly reassigned, a federal judge ruled.
U.S. District Judge John deGravelles' ruling Wednesday keeps ex-Angola Warden Burl Cain and two current corrections officials, Joseph Lamartiniere and Leslie Dupont, as defendants in the lawsuit by an inmate.
Tyler Holliday, whom the inmate claims repeatedly sexually abused him, and the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections also are defendants. Holliday no longer works at the prison.
Longtime former prison warden Burl Cain took to the airwaves Tuesday to defend himself in a …
The inmate was moved to another prison on March 24, 2014, eleven days after he says he notified a prison official that he needed to talk with Lamartiniere, the assistant warden for security, about sexual assaults by a correctional officer.
When Lamartiniere arrived, the inmate told him that Holliday was sexually assaulting prisoners, causing Lamartiniere to jokingly reply, "I can believe that," according to the lawsuit filed in January 2015.
By the time of that March 13, 2014, conversation, the inmate claims, Holliday already had sexually assaulted him that year at Camp D on Jan. 6, 15 and 29; Feb. 4, 7 and 26; and March 12.
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The Advocate is not identifying the inmate because the paper does not identify people who say they are victims of sexual abuse. An internal review by corrections officials of the inmate's allegations found them to be unsubstantiated.
The inmate says he requested a meeting with Lamartiniere and Cain to report in detail the facts, but Lamartiniere said he would have to see if Cain wanted to speak with the inmate about the allegations, the suit alleges. No meeting ever occurred, the suit adds.
The inmate alleges he was sent back to Camp D, where Holliday sexually abused him a final time on March 22, 2014. But the next night he was told he would be transferred to another prison.
He claims Cain was informed March 19, 2014, of the allegations he made against Holliday, and that Cain arranged for the inmate to be moved.
In refusing to dismiss Cain, Lamartiniere and Dupont from the suit, deGravelles wrote that the decision to move the inmate from Angola "is certainly evidence from which a reasonable jury could infer, despite lack of specificity as to whom Holliday was sexually assaulting, that the Defendants knew or reasonably believed that (he) was the target — or, perhaps, one of many targets — of Holliday's attacks." Dupont was deputy warden of security at the time.
Joseph Long, one of the inmate's attorneys, said Thursday that all the defendants in the case "share liability in the tragic occurrences of 2014."
"He may have just been a prisoner, but rape was not part of his sentence," Long said, expressing confidence that they will prevail coming trial.
The state Attorney General's Office represents all of the defendants, but office spokeswoman Ruth Wisher said Friday she could not comment on the ongoing litigation.
Attempts to reach Holliday were unsuccessful.
The judge said a reasonable juror could infer from Lamartiniere's "I can believe that" comment to the inmate that Lamartiniere "had some prior knowledge of either misconduct by Holliday or, at the very least, the danger Holliday posed."
Cain, Lamartiniere and Dupont contend they acted reasonably given the information provided to them, but deGravelles said he disagrees.
"The Court finds that every reasonable officer would know that it is unlawful to fail to act immediately to protect a prisoner when the officer has actual knowledge that the prisoner is at substantial risk of sexual abuse by a guard," he wrote.
The inmate alleges the first assault occurred after a guard ordered him to meet Holliday in the Camp D security booth on Jan. 6, 2014. Holliday ordered the inmate to perform oral sex on him, then forced him to spit out the semen and poured bleach on it, the suit claims.
Holliday indicated his mother worked in administration and his father had been a captain at the prison, implying he knew everyone and would know if a complaint were made, the suit says.
The inmate also claims Holliday showed him a canister of pepper spray and said if the inmate told anyone about what happened he would put him in a cell and feed him the pepper spray.
Cain, the longtime Angola warden, announced in December 2015 that he was stepping down. His abrupt announcement came after an investigation by The Advocate that revealed his business ties to a family member of an Angola inmate and to the close friend of another inmate at the same prison.