A man who identifies as a woman who was sexually assaulted in the Orange County, Florida jail failed to prove that the county deliberately risked his safety, a federal judge ruled. D.B., diagnosed with gender dysphoria as a teenager, was sexually assaulted by a cellmate in 2008 while awaiting trial in the Orange County jail. He claimed he repeatedly asked prison officials to house him separately from male inmates. Nevertheless, the officers ignored his requests and placed him with the general prison population. Prison officials refused to transfer him even after D.B. told them that “inmates were shaking their penises at (him)” and saying they wanted to have sex with him, according to the complaint. D.B.’s cellmate, Josh Bailey, sexually assaulted him in December 2008, shortly after officers transferred him into the cell. Bailey was convicted of sexual battery for the assault and received a 25-year sentence.
It is appalling that D.B. did not prevail in his lawsuit, especially given that his attacked was convicted of sexual assault. Although we do not support housing males with women (for the same reasons D.B. did not want to be housed with males), prisons have an obligation to keep prisoners safe.