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Woman Claims She Was Raped By Trusties While Leaving Jail

February 21, 1996

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) _ A woman arrested for traffic violations was raped by two jail trusties in a bathroom as she prepared to leave the lockup, authorities said Tuesday.

As many as a dozen officers could be reassigned pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Union County Jail Director Jack Rafferty said.

``Embarrassing? Absolutely,″ county Manager Ann Baran said. ``I’m personally outraged that this could happen.″

Monte Johnson, 25, of Elizabeth was charged with aggravated sexual assault and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, while Mark Cannon, 34, of Plainfield was charged with aggravated sexual assault.

Johnson was serving a three-year sentence for heroin possession and Cannon was serving eight years for burglary. Both were ``trusties,″ allowed to move more freely within the jail than ordinary prisoners.

The 32-year-old woman was stopped Feb. 14 for a broken tail light, said Police Capt. Mark Kurdyla. A computer check of her registration showed that an arrest warrant had been issued for her in 1994 for failing to appear in court on a number of traffic citations.

In the latest stop, she was charged with driving with a suspended license, having fictitious license plates, driving an uninsured and unregistered car, and having a broken tail light.

She spent the night in the city jail and pleaded innocent in municipal court the next day. She was transferred to the county jail after she was unable to post bond.

On Thursday, she paid the $500 bond and went into a bathroom in a processing area to change from jail garb into her own clothes, Police Chief Richard Mannix. The trusties followed her in and one held her while the other raped her, he said.

Officials said they were investigating how the trusties were able to get into the bathroom without being spotted by any of the eight officers working in the area.

Earlier this month, 12 corrections officers at the jail were charged with abusing illegal immigrants sent there after a detention center riot, and with trying to cover up the abuse.

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