Hawaii warden prevails in the lawsuit alleging discrimination

FILE – In this Nov. 1, 2016, file photo, Kauai Community Correctional Center Warden Neal Wagatsuma, left, uses a mobile phone during the walk out of the U. S. District Court in Honolulu, Hawaii Deputy Attorney General Nelson Nabeta. After a week of deliberation, the jury Tuesday, Dec. 20, with a unanimous vote in favor of the defendants Neal Wagatsuma and the state of Hawaii in a lawsuit brought by a former prison social worker. (AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, File)

(Associated Press)

HONOLULU – A federal jury found Tuesday that a security guard at a prison in Hawaii is not subject female inmates to sexual humiliation and discrimination, and did not retaliate against a prison social worker who brought the suit.

After a week of deliberation, the jury unanimously in favor of the defendants Neal Wagatsuma and the state of Hawaii.

Former prison social worker Carolyn Ritchie’s lawsuit accused Wagatsuma of forcing women Kauai Community Correctional Center to watch films depicting rape, and to reveal details about their sexual past while being filmed.

Wagatsuma testified during the trial that the violent sexual films were part of a program that he created with what he calls ” the shame of therapy.”

He said there have long been rumors that he shows prisoners porn, but “I would never do that.”

The director showed movies, such as ” looking for Mr. Goodbar,” a 1970 drama in which the female protagonist is raped and murdered, court records shown.

Wagatsuma said he yells and uses profanity during the sessions. Words like “whore” and “batuna,” a Hawaii another word for a woman who trades sex for crystal meth, were used in the right context, ” he said.

Ritchie’s lawsuit said the woman had come to her to complain about the sessions. In addition, the warden denied women the same work release opportunities as men.

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