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The Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Boyds (file photo by Maximilian Franz).

Montgomery County inmate files $1 million sexual assault lawsuit

A Montgomery County inmate has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the county alleging she was sexually assaulted by a corrections officer on July 6.

Chanel Williams alleges the officer “forcefully” kissed her and grabbed her when he came into her cell at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Boyds. The officer, identified in the complaint as “Sgt. Lawrence,” said he wanted to have sex with Williams as he continued to hold her, according to the action filed Monday in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

Williams “felt that her life was in jeopardy” and asked the officer multiple times to get off her, the complaint states. The officer left because he said he had to train a colleague, she alleges. Williams then reported the incident.

Williams, 23, is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 20 after pleading guilty in January to conspiracy to commit armed robbery, according to online court records. She is still in the correctional facility, her attorney said.

Arthur Wallenstein, director of the county Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, said the officer is being investigated by county police for two alleged incidents in the last two months, including the one reported by Williams. Corrections officials immediately refer any allegations of sexual assault to county police, Wallenstein said.

A corrections employee under investigation does not have any contact with his or her accuser and is reassigned to another institution, he added.

Wallenstein, who said he has not been served with the lawsuit, declined to say whether the officer in Williams’ lawsuit has been investigated for similar allegations prior to this summer.

Williams’ lawsuit seeks damages for assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence. She is represented by attorney Jimmy A. Bell, a solo practitioner in Upper Marlboro.

The case is Chanel Williams v. Montgomery County, case no. 393894V, Montgomery County Circuit Court.