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Transgender woman sues NYC claiming rape at Rikers

The eastern section of Rikers Island jail complex

The eastern section of Rikers Island jail complex in Queens is seen in this photo from June 11, 2014. Credit: AP

A transgender former Rikers Island jail inmate has sued the city, claiming she was raped by a guard and then paid off with an iPad Touch not to report it.

The lawsuit -- the latest in a series of prosecutions, reports and civil suits that have painted a withering picture of conditions at the city jail -- says the assault was the product of a "culture of rape and systemic sexual abuse" the city has allowed to flourish through inadequate policing of the jail.

The Manhattan federal court complaint alleges the rape occurred in December 2012 in a clinic area of the jail where there are no cameras. The inmate, identified by the initials M.T., has since been sentenced for burglary and is at an upstate jail.

A spokeswoman for the city Department of Corrections said the allegations are being investigated, and noted that as part of ongoing reforms to improve safety the city opened a 30-bed transgender housing unit at Rikers late last year.

A class-action suit filed in May by two female inmates alleged an epidemic of sexual abuse of women by Rikers guards. That case, filed by the Legal Aid Society, is pending.

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