Mother sexually assaulted by guard while in custody sues Arapahoe County sheriff

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LONE TREE, Colo. -- A female jail inmate who was sexually assaulted by a security guard while her newborn baby was in the room has filed a federal lawsuit against the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office.

The incident occurred in September of 2012. The woman, then 34, was in custody on a drug possession charge, her lawyer told Westword.

The woman began having contractions and was taken to Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree to give birth. A couple of hours after the birth, C&D Security employee Michael Arnold was assigned to watch the inmate by himself.

ACSO has noted that Arnold never worked directly for the sheriff's office, but the sheriff's office did pay for the security services. It is common for police departments to contract out this type of security to private companies so that officers can pursue their other duties.

As the woman lay exhausted and still under the influence of epidural anesthesia, Arnold undressed her, fondled her and forced her to perform oral sex, according to a criminal complaint. Arnold was armed with a handgun during the attack.

The newborn girl was in the room the entire time.

Later, the victim testified that she was afraid to resist because her attacker was armed. All she could do was wait until a nurse came in to check on her, then beg the woman not to leave, she testified.

Arnold originally said the semi-conscious woman wanted to have sex with him, but he eventually made a plea deal and was given probation. If he doesn't violate the terms of the probation, he will serve no jail time for felony sex assault.

In September of 2014 , the woman filed a federal lawsuit naming Arnold, C&D Security and Arapahoe County Sheriff David Walcher. The suit claims that the sheriff's office takes responsibility for their guards' actions, regardless of whether Arnold was an official ACSO employee.

The suit seeks unspecified damages.

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