A woman who was an inmate at the Milwaukee County Jail Sheriff David A. Clarke heads was awarded $6.7 million in damages this week after she was repeatedly raped by a guard in 2013.
The woman, who was 20 and already pregnant at the time of the assault, said corrections officer Xavier Thicklen raped her five times; once when she was more than seven months pregnant and another time within days of returning to the jail after giving birth.
Attorneys for the woman said surveillance video from the jail corroborated the woman's allegations.
Thicklen was charged with sexual assault, but pleaded no contest to one felony count of misconduct in public office as part of a plea agreement. He was sentenced in 2014 to three days in the House of Correction, which he had already served, and a fine of $200. The original charges carried a maximum penalty of 200 years in prison. He was also fired, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
The woman testified in a federal civil trial Monday that Thicklen assaulted her in various places in the jail and that she still had nightmares about the assault.
“He used his keys, his power, his authority to get in these places and rape me,” she told the court.
She also alleges that she was shackled during childbirth in 2013, and while the jury found that there was “no legitimate government purpose” to shackle her, the jurors did not award her monetary damages because she could not prove that she was injured as a result of the shackling.
The jury found Milwaukee County liable for the damages because Thicklen was its employee at the time that he assaulted the woman.
The jail falls under the jurisdiction of controversial Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., whose office is dealing with various other legal issues. Clarke said last month he would be leaving the sheriff’s office for a new job as an assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.