Pregnant inmate suffers miscarriage, rapes and attacks as guards watched, TX suit says

A 23-year-old pregnant woman lost her baby and suffered numerous sexual assaults and attacks, all while jail guards just watched, according to a federal lawsuit recently filed in Texas.

Mikayla Savage, a “petite” woman standing 4 feet, 11 inches, spent only three months in the Harris County Jail, from early June to late August 2022, the suit filed Feb. 26 said. She was booked on charges of aggravated assault and violating a protective order — and though those charges were dropped, resulting in her release — she was “irreparably and traumatically changed by her short time in jail,” documents read.

The lawsuit is seeking relief, including compensatory damages, for what Savage allegedly endured and names over 30 members of the jail staff, and Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, as defendants.

In a statement to McClatchy News, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said it has “thoroughly investigated” the claims made in the lawsuit.

“Investigators conducted multiple interviews, analyzed security video footage, reviewed medical records, conducted DNA testing, and gathered other evidence. The investigation found insufficient evidence to verify the allegations,” the statement said.

Savage’s attorneys called the jail, located in Houston, “a house of horrors that is unfit for human habitation,” where guards and officials “turn a blind eye to the staggering number of serious assaults, harassment, and even deaths” that happen there.

In Savage’s case, guards even took part in the abuse, documents read.

One morning, while lining up to head to court, one officer ordered another to grab Savage, according to documents. The officer “yanked Mikayla by the collar of her shirt and swung her around like a rag doll,” and eventually threw her against a wall, stomach-first, documents said.

Shortly after this incident, Savage was taken to an area hospital to get an ultrasound, and she received devastating news: She had miscarried, the suit said. Hospital staff said the miscarriage happened within the last two weeks, according to the lawsuit, within the same time period she had been assaulted by the guard.

Following the loss of her unborn child, Savage was moved into the general population section, documents said.

“There, she suffered a truly horrific series of at least five different physical and sexual assaults within a two-month period,” the lawsuit said.

In one instance, Savage was tied up by several inmates and raped within view of a guard post, but nobody stepped in to help, according to the suit.

The same guard accused of causing her miscarriage later saw her being attacked by other inmates but he did not intervene, the lawsuit says.

Despite pleas for help to jail guards and medical staff, Savage continued to be assaulted. She made attempts at suicide, which were brushed off as not being “true attempts,” documents read.

Savage’s attorneys say her suffering at the jail is “neither atypical nor unusual.”

“Officials have entirely disregarded the human suffering within the Jail’s walls for decades,” the lawsuit said, placing much of the blame on jail overpopulation.

The Harris County Jail is currently listed as non-compliant, meaning it does not meet the “Texas minimum jail standards,” according to the state Commission on Jail Standards.

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