Two guards at the Federal Prison Camp, in Alderson, protected one another from investigations into raping prisoners, enabling at least one guard to rape at least four women, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court this month.
A former inmate, identified by the pseudonym C.H., filed the lawsuit on Sept. 9, saying the second-highest ranking guard at the prison raped her twice in 2017 after learning another guard had sexually abused her within the first six months of her sentence.
The woman, who since has completed her sentence and currently resides in Virginia, said she didn’t have the capacity to consent to the sexual acts the former guards, Scott Hall and Jerrod Grimes, forced on her, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
C.H. is represented by attorneys with Calwell Luce diTrapano in Charleston, McCamic Law Firm in Wheeling, and Bachman, Hess, Bachman & Garden, also in Wheeling.
Dante diTrapano said his firm, along with Jay McCamic, represents three of the four women who were sexually abused and assaulted in prison.
“This is another example of an institutional failure allowing a person who has all the power and authority to terrorize vulnerable women,” diTrapano said. “We look forward to helping those victims.”
Grimes, a former captain in the prison, pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual abuse of a ward and two counts of abusive sexual contact involving a ward in June 2018, as part of a plea deal in federal court.
U.S. District Judge Irene Berger sentenced Grimes to 10 years in prison, with credit for time he’d already served in jail, and 10 years of supervision after he is released. Grimes is incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Balsop, Texas, about 30 miles south of Austin, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.
He is expected to be released from prison in December 2026.
Grimes is named as a defendant in the lawsuit along with David R. Wilson, who was the warden at the time, former guard Scott A. Hall, a Lt. Workman, who is believed to still work at the prison, two unnamed guards, and the United States of America in its capacity as the governing body of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
C.H. entered FPC Alderson in April 2017 to begin a 36-month prison sentence after being convicted of drug charges, according to the lawsuit.
By July 2017, Hall began having inappropriate contact with C.H. by talking to her about his dissatisfaction with his marriage and passing love notes to her.
Under federal law, “notes of a romantic nature” are contraband and Hall, in April 2019, pleaded guilty to one count of passing along contraband in prison. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, according to federal court records.
Hall’s conduct toward C.H. in 2017 escalated from love letters to making comments about C.H.’s body and his physical attraction to her. He also told her he fantasized about her while masturbating, according to the lawsuit.
Hall eventually began forcing C.H. to meet with him in “empty or unobserved spaces” at the prison, where he kissed her and groped her over her clothes, according to the lawsuit.
Grimes, in his rank as captain, was required by Bureau of Prisons policy to investigate sexual abuse and assault, and instead of doing that, C.H. said Grimes used his knowledge of Hall’s sexual abuse to abuse C.H. under the guise of an investigation.
“Captain Grimes used his position as Captain to increase C.H.’s vulnerability, then capitalized on it,” attorneys said in the lawsuit.
C.H. said Grimes raped her twice in November 2017, once in his office and once in a staff restroom.
Wilson and Workman never made any formal investigation or inquiry as to why Grimes had C.H. alone in his office, because Grimes and Workman had an understanding they would not report each other’s sexual misconduct, according to the lawsuit.
After the second rape, C.H. said she found what she believed to be one of Grimes’s pubic hairs on her body and preserved it as evidence in a piece of tape and gave it to another inmate for safekeeping.
At the encouragement of another inmate, C.H. reported the rapes to Workman, who eventually had to move C.H. and another inmate to another part of the prison, away from Grimes, after he learned of the investigation, according to the lawsuit.
Grimes and Hall both resigned from their jobs in December 2017.
C.H. is seeking unspecified damages and attorneys fees.
The case has been assigned to Berger.