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Allegheny County Jail settles for $300,000 with trans woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted

Kiley Koscinski
90.5 WESA

A complaint against the Allegheny County Jail, which was filed in 2017 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, says Jules Williams was housed with male inmates during her time in the facility, even though corrections officers knew she identified as a woman. It alleges that Williams was repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted, and corrections officers did not intervene.

Allegheny County agreed to pay $300,000 in damages to settle the suit.

According to the ACLU of Pennsylvania, since 2012, federal law has required jails to conduct an “individualized assessment of transgender people at the outset of their incarceration to determine where they should be housed.”

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When Williams was first assaulted in 2015, Allegheny County Jail did not have policies requiring an assessment.

“No amount of money can undo the trauma suffered by Ms. Williams at Allegheny County Jail, but we hope that this settlement will put jails and prisons across the commonwealth on notice that they have an obligation to protect people in their custody,” said Reggie Shuford, the executive director of ACLU of Pennsylvania.

According to the agreement, the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing on behalf of the county.

Allegheny County Jail did not comment on the settlement.

Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at