A Graterford resident has alleged that she was raped while being held in a Chester County prison. She was back in court this week, but this time, as a defendant.
According to a report in the Pottstown Mercury, the 37-year-old woman, whose name has not been released by the courts to protect her identity as an alleged victim of sexual assault, was seen before Judge David Bortner on Wednesday. She was there for a violation of her probation, stemming from a charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Skippack in 2012.
The article said the woman told the judge she is "not a criminal" despite her fourth DUI arrest.
“I am not a bad person,” the woman said in court. “I don’t feel like a criminal, even though I’m in jail with people who steal and do all sorts of bad things. The whole situation stinks."
According to the article, Bortner said that he credited the woman for taking steps in the right direction. She has voluntarily attempted twice to complete alcohol rehabilitation after a September arrest. Because it was her fourth offense of the same nature, he sentenced her to 11½- to 23-months in county prison for the probation violation, as well as two more years of county-supervised probation.
The woman has yet to face sentencing for the actual Montgomery County DUI case. Chester County ADA Max O'Keefe handled the probation violation hearing and argued for a stiff sentence.
The woman "went on to commit a crime that is far more egregious” than her 2010 DUI, driving with her 8-year-old son in the car, O’Keefe reportedly argued. “She got a break (in 2010), the benefit of the doubt. But no longer does (she) deserve the benefit of the doubt.”
The judge did not mention the rape case in his sentencing, but the woman's attorney maintained that it was a crucial factor.
“She was actually raped by a guard at the prison,” said defense attorney Martin P. Mullaney during the hearing. “She basically never recovered from that trauma.”
The woman reportedly also suffers from mental illness.
"She stopped taking medication for a bipolar disorder and instead 'self-medicated' with alcohol," said Mullaney according to the Mercury. "Although she knew she had problems with drinking, she nevertheless took a full-time job at a Montgomery County bar."
The woman herself agreed.
"This has been an ongoing struggle for me. Alcohol is like a pillow for me. It makes me feel good,” she told the judge.
The woman's October suit was filed against the prison, Warden Edward McFadden, and the man who admitted having sex with her, Dale Guyer, according to the Mercury report.
The woman's federal lawsuit against Guyer reportedly claims that he violated her civil rights during two unwanted sexual exchanges at the prison in 2010. She is said to be seeking more than $150,000 in damages.
For the full Mercury story, visit the website.