ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A young woman detainee who alleges she became pregnant by a guard at the Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention and Youth Services Center is suing the county, the juvenile lockup director, and ex-corrections officer Edward Edmon, whose baby she is soon to deliver.
Shauna H., now 19 years old, was in the community custody program awaiting trial at the time she became pregnant. A related criminal complaint said she had sex with the corrections officer “five or six times.”
A lawsuit filed by attorneys Rachel Higgins and Kari Morrissey alleges Shauna was targeted, pressured and coerced into sex after seeing Edmon punish another detainee who failed to submit to his advances.
The corrections officer allegedly told her he would “never get caught having sex with her because he knew all the areas of the facility where cameras did not cover, the ‘blind spots,’ ” the criminal complaint says.
Shauna is now serving a sentence for home invasion at Camino Nuevo Women’s Correctional Facility.
Edmon, identified in the civil lawsuit as Edmun, was known to have made sexual advances toward another juvenile inmate “and to have retaliated against and mistreated that inmate” when she rebuffed him, the complaint says.
Morrissey alleged in a phone interview that the retaliation included “loss of snack food, loss of privileges – just however jail guards get back at teenaged girls” who don’t have sex with them.
A Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office detective filed a criminal complaint in December alleging felony criminal sexual penetration against Edmon, 42. Online Metropolitan Court records show it was dismissed, which is not uncommon when the District Attorney’s Office is considering bringing an indictment in District Court.
Retired Judge Tommy Jewell, now an attorney, represented Edmon on the charges in Metro Court, but a spokesman for Jewell said Monday that he has not been retained to represent him in the civil lawsuit and had no comment on it.
According to the criminal complaint, the detective was told by juvenile detention center staff that Shauna appeared to be pregnant and that “word had gotten around” that the corrections officer might be the father.
Shauna would not disclose the father to the detective initially, though she said Edmon had “done the same stuff to my friend” while she was in custody.
In an interview with the detective, the friend said “Mr. Ed” had “talked nasty” to her in her cell, stared and offered his phone number, but she not only refused his advances but wrote a statement about the alleged incidents.
Shauna later called her to say she was pregnant by him, the criminal complaint says.
The criminal filing says Shauna acknowledged having sex with Edmon five or six times and said he “grabbed my ass” 20 times.
When Shauna told Edmon of her pregnancy, he denied that the child was his, according to the complaint.
County spokeswoman Tia Bland said Ed Edmon is no longer working for Bernalillo County as of December, but referred any comment to Deputy County Manager Tom Swisstack.
Swisstack said he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment, adding, “I know Bernalillo County has active and accredited ACA (American Correctional Association) policies and procedures. I imagine the director conducted a thorough investigation or the officer wouldn’t have been discharged.”
It alleges intentional infliction of emotion distress and negligence by Edmon and negligent hiring, training, retention and supervision by the county, including the juvenile center director Craig Sparks, and negligent operation and maintenance of the facility by the county. The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal