Woman visiting Rikers inmate says guard performed unauthorized cavity search

NEW YORK (WABC) -- There are scandalous allegations at Rikers Island. A young woman who was there to visit an inmate says she was strip searched and cavity searched before she could get in.

This is not by a long stretch the first time these types of allegations have been made this year.

Lyshineek Morales is a quiet soft-spoken young woman. At just 25 years old, she is not accustomed to standing up to authority.

"When I was sitting there, I felt the tears coming," Morales said.

Ms. Morales was visiting a friend at Rikers Island when she was told she had to undergo what they call a pat and frisk.

What she says happened next in a Department of Corrections booth, though, was much closer to sexual assault.

"After she went around my waistband, she told me to pull my pants down to my knees. She started to feel my vaginal area," Morales said.

Ms. Morales says she was ordered next to strip from the waist down.

"I took the jeans off and she told me to pull my panties down. The captain told me to squat and cough. The correction officer continued to feel in between my legs," Morales said.

Ms. Morales says the correction officer performed a complete body cavity search. The officer found no contraband.

"I just felt really violated and embarrassed. When I got my registration card, I tried to sit down and wait for the bus, but I never made it to sit there because I went into the bathroom and just started crying," Morales said.

"It's an abuse of power," said Pamela Roth, Morales' attorney.

The Department of Corrections says strip searches and body cavity searches are not permitted in city jails, and pat and frisk searches do not require the removal of primary clothing.

Still, there are a couple dozen cases like Ms. Morales' in the last year.

"Each one of those women, the only common thread they have is that they were going there to visit a loved one, and each one of them was sexually assaulted and violated by women correction officers," Roth said.

"I just don't want it to happen ever again, the feeling, I can't take the feeling away, I can't take what happened back and make it not have happened, I just don't want it to ever happen again," Morales said. null
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