Leslie-Ann Absalom 53, a former Department of Corrections captain, and officers Daphne Farmer, 49, Jennifer George, 32, Lisette Rodriguez, 51, Alifa Waiters, 45, and Latoya Shuford, 36, routinely strip-searched female visitors without their consent, court documents state.
The unlawful searches allegedly included forcing visitors to remove their pants and underwear, touching visitors’ breasts and examining visitors’ private areas, PIX11 reported.
Prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office also allege four of the officers filed false reports which state the visitors gave consent for the searches.
The corrections officers were charged with official misconduct, unlawful imprisonment, conspiracy and various counts of filing false documents. They have all been suspended without pay.
“There is no excuse for violating the human rights of New Yorkers visiting our city’s jails," Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. said, according to PIX11. “As alleged, these officers flagrantly abused their power when they ignored their training and subjected visitors to humiliating and unlawful searches. Further, they attempted to cover up their actions by forcing visitors to sign consent forms under false pretenses, and repeatedly lying in official documents.”
Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association President Elias Husamudeen, however, said in a statement the officers were only doing their jobs.
“Manhattan Detention Center Correction Officers assigned to the Visit Area, arrested more than 50 visitors last year alone for attempting to smuggle in heroin, marijuana, cocaine, K-2 synthetic, razors, scalpels and other contraband," Husamudeen said. "Everyday they do everything they can to keep this jail safe for visitors, inmates and correction staff. They deserve more public support for the diligent professionalism they exude every day.”