Two women claim to be traumatized by incident in bathroom

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Two former Marion County jail inmates who say they were sexually assaulted two years ago by a corrections deputy are suing him and the county for nearly $1 million.

Named in the suit is Curtis Kotter, an ex-jail officer who was convicted last year of official misconduct in connection with allegations that he had two female inmates perform oral sex on him in a jail bathroom in May 2004.

Kotter spent less than two months behind bars at the Linn County jail in Albany for the crime.

A civil lawsuit filed this week by ex-inmates Kim Andrade and Danielle Cuellar alleges that Kotter forced them to perform oral sex on him and threatened to "ruin them" if they told.

Both inmates were traumatized by Kotter’s attack, the suit says, "but were too afraid to speak given his threats and their in-custody status."

The night after the attack, a crying Andrade was asked what was wrong by Dawn Knard, a female deputy, according to the suit.

"At that point, Andrade broke down, weeping inconsolably, and told Knard what had happened," the suit says. "Knard reported the incident and an investigation followed."

Kotter was placed on paid leave May 22, 2004 — five days after the incident. He was fired in August 2004.

In September 2005, a Marion County judge cleared Kotter of felony charges of sodomy and unlawful sexual penetration, finding him guilty only of official misconduct. Kotter’s 90-day jail sentence was reduced because of his good behavior. After serving 53 days, he was released Nov. 8.

Kotter could not be reached for comment Friday. In a Nov. 3 jailhouse interview, Kotter said that he was "set up" by inmates who detected his vulnerability and lured him into sexual misconduct. He alleged that they had a financial scheme to sue the county.

The lawsuit alleges that jail officials knew about sexual contact between inmates and correctional officers, but did nothing to stop it before the investigation into Kotter’s case.

The suit alleges that the county lacked adequate jail staffing and surveillance to protect inmates. It also claims that the county failed to properly train, supervise and discipline jail employees.

Jail commander Chris Hoy declined to comment on the suit Friday. County legal counsel Jo Stonecipher said: "We have received the complaint, we’re evaluating it, we’ll consult with our clients and conclude how best to deal with it."

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