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Transgender woman allegedly raped by cellmate says she requested single cell

August 3, 2018

Taylor John Booth

A transgender woman asked Allegheny County Jail officials not to give her a cellmate before he allegedly raped her, she told a courtroom Monday.

The woman said the sexual assault occurred on July 17, soon after officials assigned Taylor John Booth, 21, of Pittsburgh to her cell.

The Tribune-Review does not identify victims of sexual assault.

The woman arrived at the jail July 14 on charges of robbery and other charges, according to court records.

In accordance with the jail’s seven-page transgender policy, Warden Orlando Harper formed a committee that recommended a housing plan for the woman, said Amie Downs, county spokesman.

Downs declined to disclose what the recommended housing plan was or whether jail officials followed it.

“Regardless of requests that inmates make, it is the jail’s policies and procedures, as well as security protocols, that govern placement and housing,” Harper said in an email, via Downs.

Immediately when Booth arrived in the woman’s cell, he started flirting with her, touching her thighs and buttocks, and saying he wanted to have sex with her, she said.

She told him to stop multiple times, and later went to sleep on the bottom bunk, she said.

The woman woke up during the middle of the night to find Booth in her bed exposing himself, the woman said.

She told him to stop, she said. Instead, he forced her to perform sex acts, she said.

“I kinda just took myself outta the situation and kinda blocked it,” she said Monday. “I told him to stop at least three times.”

The next morning, the woman reported the rape to jail authorities. Booth initially denied the assault, then confessed after authorities said they planned to process the cell for forensic evidence, said Daniel Mayer, an Allegheny County police detective.

When officials processed the cell, they took Booth’s boxer briefs, digital photographs and towels that can be DNA tested, he said.

Booth’s attorney Brian Michael O’Connor argued the sex was consensual and asked the judge not to adjust Booth’s bond.

O’Connor asked Mayer whether Booth’s confession was recorded on audio or video tape. He responded it was not.

District Judge Mik Pappas revoked Booth’s bond and upheld all of his charges: rape, indecent assault, unlawful restraint and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

A Court of Common Pleas judge within a week will review Pappas’ decision to revoke Booth’s bond to determine if it was the right decision, Pappas said.

Pappas changed the victim’s bond to non-monetary to allow her release from the jail Tuesday morning.

“I don’t think you want to be sitting in jail,” he told the woman.

Booth was arrested May 7 for disorderly conduct and drug charges, according to court records.

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