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Inmate Claims Dept. Of Corrections Didn't Protect Her From Alleged Assailant

Patricia Murphy

An inmate now on work–release from the Washington Corrections Center for Women is suing the state Department of Corrections (DOC).

The suit alleges, among other things, that the DOC didn't do enough to protect Wendy Hynd from retaliation after she reported an alleged sexual assault by a corrections officer.


Attorneys for Wendy Hynd filed the lawsuit earlier this month in Pierce County Superior Court. The suit says Hynd was sexually assaulted three years ago by a corrections officer while she was being treated for an infection at St. Anthony's Hospital in Gig Harbor. Hynd reported the assault to administration.

The DOC won't reveal the results of the investigation. They will confirm that Corrections Officer Lonnie Cherry was placed on administrative leave for 10 months.

After Cherry returned to duty, Hynd's lawyer, Michael Schwartz, says Cherry stalked and harassed his client.

Schwartz: "The corrections officer would show up wherever Ms. Hynd happened to be, whether it was at her housing unit, while she was in transfer to other areas of the prison, or even at her classroom. Often times the corrections officer would stand there and stare at her, other times he would speak to her."

Schwartz says Cherry's actions were retaliatory and meant to intimidate Hynd. The suit contends that prison officials failed to protect Hynd. They also didn't notify her that Cherry was returning to work.

Hynd began serving a sentence in 1999 for second–degree assault, attempted theft, and unlawful possession of a firearm.

The DOC says Hynd is finishing out her sentence at a work–release house in Seattle.

The department won't comment on the suit. They have 20 days to respond.

I'm Patricia Murphy, KUOW News.

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