WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | News

Lawsuits Filed in Va. Jail Strip Searches

May 1, 2012

Nine female contractors are suing Portsmouth City Jail officials, alleging jail employees violated their constitutional rights when they forced them to strip and undergo visual body-cavity searches during a drug-smuggling investigation.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia has filed the lawsuits in federal court in Norfolk. Each lawsuit alleges that Sheriff Bill Watson illegally ordered deputies to perform the searches in April 2011 on the workers, who worked for Correct Care Solutions or Aramark Correctional Facility Food Service. If the women didn't consent, they were barred from the jail and thus risked losing their jobs.

The ACLU argues that the searches were illegal because there wasn't any specific suspicion that any of the workers actually carried drugs.

"It is important that shocking invasions of privacy like these do not go unchecked," ACLU of Virginia legal director Rebecca K. Glenberg said Monday in a statement. "This sort of bodily intrusion is precisely what the Constitution is meant to prevent."

The six nurses, a mental health counselor and two food-service workers are seeking punitive damages and an injunction prohibiting subsequent illegal searches.

Lt. Lee Cherry of the Portsmouth Sheriff's Office declined to comment on the lawsuits on Monday.

The comments sections of Newsplex.com are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. E-mail is required, but will not be displayed with comment.

  • Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. We will not post comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.
  • We will not post comments that use hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our website.
  • Comments should not attack other readers or people featured in our stories personally. Any accusations should be backed up with facts.
  • Any comment we post will be posted in its entirety. We do not edit any comment that we post.
  • Comments should contribute to the discussion. We will not post comments that don't advance the discussion. Flaming and/or trolling will not be tolerated.
  • Comments should not attack other posters. Let's keep the focus on the content of the story.

    As a host Newsplex.com welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However this is a site that we host. We have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.

    If you have any ideas to improve the conversation or this section let us know. Send an e-mail to webmaster@newsplex.com.


powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 149659885