DENVER – An inmate who twice escaped from the Pueblo County jail filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, alleging that guards abused him and didn't do enough to stop him from breaking out.
Scott Anthony Gomez, Jr. alleges that guards have sprayed him with pepper spray, shot him with a stun gun, and beaten and kicked him without provocation. He also claims that employees of the Pueblo County sheriff's department got other inmates to assault him.
The suit in U.S. District Court in Denver was filed against Pueblo County, former sheriff Dan Corsentino, current sheriff Kirk Taylor, six guards and their supervisors. A sheriff's spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a message left afterhours and there was no listed telephone number for Corsentino, who left office last January.
According to the suit, Gomez and another inmate escaped on Nov. 22, 2006 — the second jail escape that year — by pushing up a ceiling panel, getting into the jail's ventilation system and lowering themselves from the roof using a rope made of bed sheets. Gomez was captured two days later.
Gomez alleges he told Corsentino that there were many ways to get out of the jail but that security wasn't improved.
Gomez claims he was assaulted by a guard on Jan. 3, 2007 and then charged with inciting a riot, prompting him to plan another escape with another inmate. He alleges the cell doors in his maximum security wing could be easily opened and he was able to loosen a tile in a shower ceiling when a guard left the area unattended for an hour.
According to the lawsuit, after climbing out a hole in the ceiling, Gomez was seriously injured when he fell 40 feet while trying to scale down the side of the jail.
The lawsuit, which seeks an unspecified amount of money, claims authorities "did next to nothing to ensure that the jail was secure and that the Plaintiff could not escape."