THE BRONX — A female transgender inmate who was housed in a male jail on Rikers Island said she was bullied, punched and beaten by two fellow prisoners over her gender identity and sexual orientation while guards stood by and did nothing.
Stanley Young said she is planning to sue the city and the Department of Correction over the unprovoked assault on Dec. 11, 2015, claiming guards didn't intervene when the prisoners were taunting her and were slow to respond when the prisoners assaulted her in a bathroom in her housing unit.
Young filed a notice of claim — the first step in suing the city — in Bronx Supreme Court on Oct. 15 and is waiting for a judge to sign off on her moving forward with the claim.
"They punched me repeatedly in the face, head and stomach, threw me against a metal partition in the bathroom, and threw me to the concrete floor," Young said of the two inmates in her filing.
Young, who is no longer in jail, was an inmate at Rikers in December 2015 in a male housing unit. Before the assault, Young was subjected to bullying, harassment and threats of physical harm by the two inmates because of her gender identity and sexual orientation, according to her filing.
Correction officers came to her housing unit on the morning of Dec. 11, 2015, instructing the two bullies to pack up their stuff because they were being transferred to another area.
One of the bullies blamed Young for the transfer and referred to her as "that homo" in front of the guards, the filing said. The bully also taunted Young by telling her to pack up her stuff as well and come with them, according to the filing.
Young said the guards witnessed this exchange but did nothing to intervene.
After the taunting, Young then went into her unit's bathroom to clean it as part of her work detail, according to the filing.
"Shortly after I entered the bathroom, [the inmates] entered the bathroom and attacked me without cause or provocation," the filing says.
Young said she suffered injuries to her face, left shoulder, neck, back and torso.
She accuses the guards of failing to respond to physical and verbal threats that the bullies made against her and for failing to "timely intervene once the assault began."
Correction Department spokesman Peter Thorne said that Rikers Commissioner Joseph Ponte took the allegations seriously.
“Commissioner Ponte has zero tolerance for assaults of inmates,” Thorne said.
However, the department declined to comment on Young's specific allegations because of pending litigation. The department also said it did not have a record of the assault on Young.
Before the arrest that sent her to Rikers in December 2015, Young had been out on parole after serving nearly a year out of a possible three-year sentence for second-degree assault.
After her alleged attack at Rikers, Young was transferred to a state prison to serve additional time for violating her parole. She was released from prison May 13 of this year.
Young's lawyer, Tracie Sundak, did not respond to a request for comment.
Rikers Island opened a 34-bed housing unit in 2014 for transgender inmates.
Placement in the unit is voluntary. Inmates who apply for the unit must fill out an application, which is reviewed by a warden and other Rikers officials. It's unclear if Young had applied for the unit.
However, Rikers officials will place a transgender inmate in protective custody if an immediate fear of safety exists.