Several women spoke out Saturday against what they say is a history of physical and sexual abuse and mistreatment at the largest women's prison in Florida after an inmate was allegedly beaten so badly by four prison guards that she is now paralyzed from the neck down.
Attorneys for Cheryl Weimar filed a criminal complaint Thursday against the Florida Department of Corrections and four unnamed male prison guards. The lawsuit says the guards beat Weimar on Aug. 21 when she told them she was unable to clean a toilet at the Lowell Correctional Institution because of a pre-existing hip condition.
A photo of Cheryl Weimar before her incarceration. Her attorney is now pushing to be allowed to take photos and videos of her injuries. (Courtesy Ryan Andrews)
Since then, other former inmates have come forward to share their own stories of sexual and physical violence that they say has taken place for more than a decade at the second-largest women's prison America.
Jordyn Cahill, a former Lowell inmate who says she used her time in prison to better herself and eventually became a certified paralegal, said in a message on YouTube that she is "astounded" by the attack on Weimar and detailed her own alleged experiences of sexual assault and harassment during her time there.
Cahill, who served eight years at the facility, ending in 2013, names nearly a dozen male officers in the video, pointedly asking them "do you remember" certain details of unwanted sexual advances towards her.
The former inmate said one officer who had a foot fetish refused to give her toilet paper until she showed him her toes. Another allegedly groped her and "forced your tongue down my throat and pushed all 300 pounds of your body against me."
Cahill says yet another officer forced his hands down the back of her pants and groped her as she was leaving a room.
The Florida Department of Corrections did not respond to Fox News' request for comment on the latest allegations.
“For Cheryl, and for any other incarcerated woman who has been physically abused or sexually abused by any officer, or any male inmate who has been sexually or physically abused by any officer, I am going to tell my story, I’m going to promote others to tell their story and I’m going to share the f— out of it,’’ Cahill said, adding that she is confident she would pass a lie detector test detailing her experiences.
Another formerly incarcerated woman posted on Instagram that she was sharing a photo of herself in a "And so I kept living," t-shirt as "symbols of solidarity for our sisters who can't speak for themselves. We will not be silenced."
Change is Now, a prison activist group, posted a video on Facebook, that included photos of women who have died at Lowell due to abuse or medical neglect, the Miami Herald reported.
“Lowell Correctional family, friends and formerly incarcerated have sat silent long enough while our daughters, sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers and other women incarcerated in Lowell Correctional Institution have been harmed in one way or another,’’ the group said in a statement announcing a planned protest Saturday.
“We will stand together united in silence as we scream for help for the women who remain incarcerated inside of Lowell Correctional Institution.’’
Weimar, 51, remains hospitalized and has to breathe and be fed through tubes as a result of her injuries, the lawsuit says.
The Florida Department of Corrections told Fox News it couldn’t comment on the lawsuit, but the guards alleged to have been involved in the incident have been reassigned to positions where they have no contact with inmates, pending the outcome of the investigation.