(CBS) — A horrible mistake that led a woman to be sexually attacked not once but twice in a courthouse holding cell will now cost Cook County more than $3 million.
CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley explains what happened behind locked doors that ended in a jail payout.
It happened last May at the Markham courthouse. A 52-year-old woman was sexually assaulted by two men, and sheriff’s deputies allowed it to happen.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle points the finger at Sheriff Tom Dart.
“The sheriff and his team needs to do a better job to put systems in place so that there are clear operational and managerial guidelines for their staff. This is disgraceful.”
Prosecutors say 22-year-old Hamidullah Tribble, and 29-year-old Nelon Drake separately asked to use the toilet because their holding cell didn’t have one. Sheriff’s deputies let them into the cell of a woman detainee, which had a toilet.
The men allegedly raped the woman, one after the other.
“Imagine the terror she must have gone through, by being locked in a cell with them and then locked in the bathroom in that cell with them, as they attacked her repeatedly,” Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin (13th District) said.
The Cook County Board on Wednesday approved a $3.25 million settlement with the victim, even though she never filed a lawsuit.
“It didn’t go to court because everybody knew the amount the county would have been on the hook for would have been much more than $3.25 million,” Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) said.
In a statement, top Dart aide Cara Smith called the case “beyond horrible” and the result of “unconscionable negligence by front line staff and supervisors.”
“Women should be segregated, because we never know when they’re going to court, who you’re going to court with,” Commissioner Deborah Sims (5th) said.
Women and men are supposed to be separated while in custody, which is why Dart is seeking to fire nine employees found negligent in the sexual assault.
But Preckwinkle says there’s a bigger problem in the sheriff’s department: $25 million paid out in settlements, over the last 2 ½ years.