Allegations of sexual harassment at New Orleans jail

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Allegations of sexual harassment at the long-troubled New Orleans jail are being aired in a joint investigation by two New Orleans media outlets.

WWL-TV and The New Orleans Advocate , in stories aired and published Tuesday and Wednesday, reported that the allegations come from six current and former employees of the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Former Deputy Christine Conner said male deputies treat female deputies “like they’re candy.” She said she was harassed by a male deputy after ending a consensual relationship with him.

“I let them know that I wasn’t comfortable working with him on the same shift and they did nothing about it,” she said. “They were all trying to make excuses for him.”

Another deputy whose name wasn’t made public said promotions were often linked to sexual favors.

Darnley Hodge Sr., the current jail administrator, responded to the allegations by telling the news outlets: “We’re not going to respond to this gossip.”

In a lawsuit filed May 1, a former nurse for the jail’s health contractor, Correct Care Solutions, says she and other nurses were “physically and psychologically sexually assaulted on numerous occasions by inmates” between November and February.

Complaints to the company and jail staffers were ignored, nurse Natalie Henderson alleges. She says that she was suspended and then fired after making complaints and hiring a lawyer.

The company has declined comment on that lawsuit, citing a policy of not commenting on litigation.

The allegations are the latest problems for a jail where reform efforts are under way in accordance with a court-supervised agreement to settle a lawsuit by inmate advocates and the U.S. Justice Department over conditions at the jail, including suicide attempts and inmate violence.

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