A former prisoner has sued the State of Nebraska after a prison guard sexually assaulted him.
Among the allegations, the ex-prisoner — a 31-year-old Douglas County man — said prison officials repeatedly doubted his story that a guard had sexually assaulted him.
Then he produced something to prove it: a napkin containing the guard's “bodily fluids.”
That resulted in the sexual assault conviction of Anthony J. Hansen, 29, a former Omaha Correctional Center guard.
It also resulted in the lawsuit against the state.
According to the prisoner's lawsuit, filed last month, and court records in Douglas County:
In December 2011, the prisoner was sent to the Omaha Correctional Center in east Omaha after his theft conviction.
Hansen immediately approached the prisoner, who had served prison time under him before.
Hansen told the man that if he “did not comply with his sexual requests, Hansen would cause plaintiff to lose good time or be placed in disciplinary segregation,” Omaha attorney Julie Jorgensen wrote in the lawsuit. “Based on previous encounters . . . plaintiff took the conversation as a threat to his future release.”
On Dec. 10, 2011, Hansen approached the prisoner in the cafeteria “with the proposition to meet in the chapel to engage in sexual activity.”
Hansen later approached the prisoner and told him there were cameras in the chapel and they should meet in the commons area.
The prisoner tried to avoid Hansen, but Hansen continued to talk about having sex and continued to make comments about the prisoner's parole date.
Hansen told the prisoner to meet him in the commons area. Hansen thrust the prisoner against the wall and kissed him, then pushed him to his knees.
The two engaged in a sex act — and the prisoner “preserved bodily fluids from Defendant Hansen in a napkin,” the lawsuit says.
Under Nebraska law, it is illegal for any prison employee or police officer to have sex with a person in custody or on parole. State Sen. Ernie Chambers introduced the law, saying inmates do not have the ability to consent to sex acts with their captors.
In the lawsuit, the prisoner said he immediately filled out a grievance form reporting the assault to prison officials. He said he was placed in a segregated unit.
He said prison officials did not believe him until they received DNA test results confirming that the napkin's contents belonged to Hansen.
Hansen eventually pleaded guilty to sexual assault of an inmate — a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Douglas County District Judge Gary Randall sentenced Hansen to two years of probation. He must register as a sex offender for the next 25 years.
The lawsuit asks a judge or jury to award the former prisoner at least $150,000.
“Due to rape and the subsequent treatment by defendants, plaintiff suffers from severe emotional distress and is expected to need therapy and psychiatric treatment for years to come,” the lawsuit says.