Even in jail, American citizens are afforded the right to reasonable protection from harm. This is perhaps even more urgent in the case of incarcerated minors, who are less capable of protecting themselves from wrongful acts. In a stunning example of negligence, one of our clients was denied this right as a vulnerable teenager, when officials at Marion County jail housed him with a repeat juvenile sex offender.
Past Abuses of a Teenage Victim
54 year-old Patrick Dale Deshaw was housed in Marion County Jail while awaiting trial on unrelated charges when our client – then a 16 year-old minor – was placed in the same cell with him. Marion County jail staff were well aware that Deshaw had been charged with more than 18 sexual abuse crimes in the past, all involving minors, and that he was ultimately convicted under 5 separate counts of child sex abuse in various Oregon county courts.
As a sex offender, Deshaw was legally required to avoid contact with anyone under the age of 18. Yet the Marion County Jail staff refused to enforce basic safety measures to protect his young victim. Once placed in the same cell with Deshaw, our then-teenage client was repeatedly sexually abused at the hands of his cellmate, a crime for which a jury unanimously convicted Deshaw on four separate counts in 2018.
A Clear-Cut Case of Gross Negligence
Now our client has reached adulthood, he is rightfully seeking damages against Marion County Jail for failing to take even the most basic precautions. Past reports from the 2018 criminal proceedings suggest that prison staff either purposely turned a blind eye to the abuse, or failed to recognize the clear signs of abuse in their own prison. Either scenario would serve as solid evidence that the jail staff committed gross negligence for someone in their care.
At The Gatti Law Firm, we focus our practice on helping victims of abuse and trauma to seek justice. Our lawyers have already helped the victim file suit, and we will be fighting to recover maximum compensation in his case against Marion County Jail.
Have you experienced sexual abuse as a result of another person’s negligence? Contact us today at (503) 543-1114 for information on how we can help you find justice.