Verdict of $11.5M for Women Repeatedly Sexually Assaulted in Wisconsin Jail

In February 2017, a week-long trial before U.S. District Court Judge William Conley in Madison, Wisconsin concluded with a jury verdict of $11.5 million awarded to two women who were repeatedly sexually assaulted by Darryl Christensen, a Polk County Sheriff's Department employee at the Polk County Jail.

The jury awarded both women $2 million in compensatory damages and $3.75 million in punitive damages. Christiansen is unlikely to pay the latter damages, as he is without assets and currently serving a 30-year prison term for sexually assaulting the two women as well as three other female prisoners between 2011 and 2014.

"I was amazed at how widespread the problem [of prison rape is]. I was also amazed that Wisconsin has not adopted the Prison Rape Elimination Act standards for their local jails," said attorney Tom Weidner, who represented the two women. Three other lawsuits from former inmates abused by the same employee remain pending.