October 7th, 2009 | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

JUICY SUITS: 'Butt Naked' with the Sheridan Cowboys


Three federal prisoners in Oregon are suing a group of guards allegedly known as the "Sheridan Cowboys" for sexual misconduct in what's described as an illegal strip-search.

The so-called Sheridan Cowboys are an especially aggressive group of guards at the federal prison outside Sheridan, Ore., according to three separate federal lawsuits filed last month by prisoners John Calvert, Charles Christoferson and Lawrence Hoover.

The lawsuits claim that on April 15 this year, a Lt. Burns (most prison personnel are identified by last name only in the lawsuits) and about 20 "Cowboys" led a group of 36 prisoners into the front foyer of Unit 1-A at the prison.

According to the lawsuits, Burns announced that "the word for today is butt naked."

The prisoners were placed in rows with the guards between them, the lawsuits say. The prisoners were then ordered to "assume the position" by bending over and spreading their buttocks, according to the lawsuits.

The suits describe the experience as an " unnecessary sexual assault of inmates."

According to the lawsuits, Burns later held his hands in a circle and told other prisoners it was "the first time I've ever seen an asshole this big around."

The prisoners made several complaints to prison authorities, but no action was taken, the lawsuits say.

The lawsuits name Sheridan Warden J.E. Thomas as well as Burns, several other guards, and "unknown Sheridan Cowboys." The prisoners each seek $6 million in damages.

None of the prisoners is represented by a lawyer.

Traci Billingsley, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Corrections in Washington, D.C., declined comment on the lawsuits specifically.

"It's our policy," Billingsley says, "to take all allegations of abuse very seriously and to investigate all allegations of abuse."
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