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Inmate alleging assault by guard may have sentence restored

January 4, 2019
This undated photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections shows John Thomas Dunn, a former Chillicothe Correctional Center counselor. The lawyer for a former Missouri inmate suing Dunn and a guard for sexual assault says the state's attempt to send her back to the same prison will re-traumatize her for no practical reason. The Kansas City Star reports that the Missouri Attorney General's Office requested last year that Karen Keil's original 15-year sentence be restored after a judge reduced her charges. She was released in 2017 from Chillicothe Correctional Center, where she alleges a guard and Dunn raped her. (Missouri Department of Corrections via AP)

CHILLICOTHE, Mo. (AP) — A former Missouri prison inmate who is suing a guard and counselor who she says sexually assaulted her will be re-traumatized for no practical reason if she is sent back to the same facility, her lawyer said.

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office requested last year that Karen Keil’s original 15-year sentence be restored after a judge reduced some of her felony embezzlement charges, the Kansas City Star reported. Keil was released in 2017 after serving six years in Chillicothe Correctional Center, where she alleges she was repeatedly raped by corrections officer Edward Bearden and later by counselor John Dunn when she sought help.

Keil is among three former inmates suing Bearden for sexual assault at the Chillicothe prison.

Andrew Dziedzic, a spokesman for the state’s new attorney general Eric Schmitt, said the office won’t comment on pending litigation.

Bearden couldn’t be reached by the newspaper for comment. The Missouri Department of Corrections confirmed he no longer works for the agency.

Dunn worked for a state contractor that provides medical and behavioral health care for all Missouri prisons. The counselor pleaded guilty in April to illegal sexual contact with another inmate. He’s currently on probation, and his attorney said he no longer works at the Chillicothe prison.

Keil is still worried about returning to the prison even without Bearden and Dunn working there as employees, said Kent Gipson, her lawyer.

Gipson said Keil will be eligible for parole if her sentence is restored, but that she would still spend months in the Chillicothe prison before being granted a hearing.

“Whether or not they’re still there, they’re going to put her back in a place where this all happened,” Gipson said. “I’m no expert on PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) but that would seem to me to be, as I said, gratuitously cruel to do that.”

The Missouri Supreme Court could rule on whether or not to restore Keil’s original sentence at any time.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

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