Ore. teen inmate sexually assaults female worker in cell, $2.7M suit says

The suit also says the county failed to warn the woman that the 15-year-old was a danger to female employees


By Aimee Green
The Oregonian

MULTNOMAH COUNTY, Ore. — A female employee at the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Center has filed a $2.7 million lawsuit against Multnomah County claiming she was sexually assaulted by a 15-year-old inmate while in his cell.

The county didn’t warn the employee that the teenager was in custody because he had been accused of sexually assaulting a pregnant teacher at his Troutdale school 3 ½ months earlier, according to the lawsuit.

The suit also says the county failed to warn the woman that the 15-year-old was a danger to female employees.

On April 16, the employee was called to the teen’s cell at the detention center in Northeast Portland as part of her job duties as a juvenile correction services specialist, the suit says. The teen tackled her, removed some of her clothes, forced his hand between her legs and molested her, according to the lawsuit.

Julie Sullivan-Springhetti, a spokeswoman for Multnomah County, declined comment because of the pending litigation.

According to the lawsuit, after the attack, the employee learned that the teen -- David Michael Ferris -- had been charged as an adult under Measure 11 with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse for allegedly pressing his body up against the teacher, the lawsuit says. The teacher worked as a speech therapist at Arata Creek School, which enrolls students with severe emotional or behavioral problems. Ferris was accused of pinning the teacher against a wall and thrusting his hand down her shirt on Jan. 3. She was four months' pregnant.

Ferris was found mentally unfit to be criminally prosecuted in that case and a judge ordered that he be transferred out of the Donald E. Long Detention Center and into a secure treatment facility, the suit says. That transfer didn’t happen, and Ferris was still at the detention center and able to sexually assault the juvenile correction services specialist, the suit says.

Ferris has been charged as an adult under Measure 11 with first-degree unlawful sexual penetration and first-degree sexual abuse for the alleged attack at the detention center. That case is pending.

The suit was filed last Friday in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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