MI Inmate Sues State, Charges He Was ‘A Virtual Sex Slave’

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A former Michigan prison inmate who fathered a child with a prison counselor while serving time is suing the Michigan Department of Corrections and state officials, saying he was forced into sex and officials should have known what was happening, reports the Detroit Free Press. Steven Moerman of Grand Rapids alleges prison counselor Susan Lee Clingerman used him as “a virtual sex slave, demanding sexual gratification at her whim,” while he was imprisoned on a drug charge in 2014 and receiving counseling for mental illness. Moerman alleges prison officials knew or should have known what was happening because another prison counselor acted as a lookout for Clingerman.

The suit alleges sexual assault, emotional distress and inadequate hiring, training and supervision, among other counts. It seeks unspecified damages. Chris Gautz, a spokesman for the corrections department, said Clingerman was fired last year. In 2014, a corrections officer caught Clingerman and Moerman having sex in her office. Clingerman, 44, signed a statement saying she’d had sex with Moerman, who also is 44, “on at least four occasions,” and “I am pregnant w/his child.” Under the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, a prisoner is inherently unable to consent to sex with a prison employee, such as a counselor, because of the imbalance of power between them.

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