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Ferguson correctional officer faces sex charges, rape lawsuit

Ferguson correctional officer faces sex charges, rape lawsuit

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FERGUSON • Prosecutors have accused a Ferguson correctional officer of allowing an inmate to escape in 2013 in exchange for sex, but a civil suit calls it rape.

After an FBI investigation, Jaris Hayden, 29, of Ferguson, was charged in St. Louis County Circuit Court on Nov. 5 with two counts of having sexual contact with a prisoner, one count of permitting escape and one count of acceding to corruption by a public servant. He was arrested Wednesday and has been released on $10,000 cash bail.

Charging documents accuse Hayden of having sex with the female inmate in exchange for allowing her to escape.

On Friday, the woman, a nurse, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court in St. Louis, accusing Hayden of raping her while she was several months pregnant and being held in the jail. The suit names Hayden and the city.

The suit, which identifies the woman only by her initials, says that she was arrested on Oct. 9, 2013, for driving with expired license plates. She also gave police a false name.

The suit says Hayden was acting in a “sexually provocative manner” toward the woman almost immediately, softly saying, “You smell good,” while booking her. After more comments, she said she was pregnant, and complained of pain and other issues. After checking with a supervisor, Hayden called an ambulance. The ambulance crew checked on the woman, then said it was up to Hayden to decide whether he would release her into their custody, the suit says. She was not released.

After the woman’s boyfriend paid her bond, Hayden said that she had traffic warrants for other municipalities. He then took her out of her cell and led her into a boiler room, where he told her to give him oral sex, the suit says. He then had sex with her, the suit says. She was too afraid to resist but did take several of his pubic hairs, the suit says.

Hayden let her out a side door of the jail, told her to stay out of the view of security cameras and told her “words to the effect of: ‘Tell anyone who asks that Wellston picked you up,’” the suit claims.

After leaving the jail, the woman went across the street to a Subway restaurant and placed the pubic hairs in a plastic bag, the suit says. The suit says that DNA analysis confirmed that the hairs belonged to Hayden.

The woman’s sister took her to the emergency room, where she talked to police, the suit says.

The lawsuit says the woman suffered humiliation, fear, mental suffering and pain during and after the rape.

The woman’s lawyer, Bevis Schock, said that the civil rights claim against the city alleges “a pattern of misconduct amounting to a policy,” and that he would be tracking the Justice Department’s investigation of Ferguson. That investigation was sparked by the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of Michael Brown Jr. by a police officer.

The woman’s lawsuit also says Ferguson has failed to adequately supervise jailers.

An FBI spokeswoman said the Hayden investigation is still open, and referred questions to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Asked about charges in the FBI investigation being filed in St. Louis County instead of federal court, U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan said, “In consultation with the Civil Rights Division, as a legal matter, we decided that the state statutes lent themselves to a better prosecution.”

Callahan said that investigators had been waiting on DNA results and lab reports, which came back in late September.

Hayden’s lawyer Scott Rosenblum declined to comment on the civil suit or discuss the evidence in the case. “Mr. Hayden has entered a plea of not guilty and ... we’re going to start discovery,” Rosenblum said.

The city issued a statement that said, “Immediately upon learning of the complaint against Mr. Hayden, the city undertook an investigation which resulted in Mr. Hayden’s termination from employment.”

City officials and employees cooperated with authorities, the statement said. Hayden had been a correctional officer since May 25, 2012. He was terminated on Nov. 19, 2013.

Stephen Deere of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

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