Teacher Raped By Inmate Received $3 Million Settlement

State of Arizona paid $3 million in settlement to an ex-prison teacher who was attacked by a prisoner. The inmate was known as a sexual offender and the teacher was left alone in a classroom with the offender. The incident took place in January 2014.

Following the incident, the victim sued the state of Arizona for $4 million in October 2014 claiming prison officials were grossly negligent for allowing her to be alone in a room with a violent sex offender. Arizona Central reported that the state of Arizona paid $3 million to settle a lawsuit. However, Department of Correction (DOC) admits no wrongdoing.

A spokeperson for DOC said in the statement, "The Arizona Department of Corrections takes the safety of its employees very seriously and has and continues to take appropriate steps to ensure that staff is as safe as reasonably possible given the inherently dangerous and violent environment and culture in a prison system."

The incident happened in Meadows Unit of Eyman Arizona State Prison in Florence. A medium security prison southeast of Phoenix which is known to house 13,000 sexual offender felonies from rapists and child molesters. The attacker, Jacob Harvey was sentenced to life for a home invasion and sexual assault on a Phoenix suburban house. Numerous public records show she was unarmed and left alone in a prison classroom with Jacob Harvey after six other inmates leaving the classroom.

CBS News reported that the attack occurred on January 30, 2014 as the teacher was administering a high school equivalency test to some prisoners. However, no guards were placed nearby and only a radio was given to the teacher in case she needed to summon help. According to investigation reports, when other inmates left, Harvey attacked the teacher, stabbing her in the head with a pen, forcing her to the ground and raping her.

The teacher in an interview said to be very traumatized of the assault and decided to file a lawsuit. After two years, the settlement was achieved and the state of Arizona paid the largest sum of settlement to an individual. The settlement was reached after Mark Brnovich took the Attorney General office early 2015 and paid attention to the lawsuit.

Scott Zwillinger, the victim's lawyer, told ABC News, "Both my client and I are grateful to the attorney general because his administration was interested in doing the right thing here," he said. "And that allowed us to reach a settlement that's fair for my client and really for the state of Arizona as well."

Following the assault, Department of Correction have installed cameras in prison classrooms and increasing patrols. All civilian workers working in the correctional facilities are also equipped with pepper spray.

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