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Transgender man suing Gwinnett, sheriff, former deputy in sexual assault case

Duone Clark

Duone Clark

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Butch Conway

A transgender man has filed a federal lawsuit against Gwinnett County, Sheriff Butch Conway and a former deputy accused of sexual assault.

Duone Clark, then a deputy with the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, was terminated in early 2012 after authorities became aware of and investigated allegations that he had sexual contact with an inmate. Clark was arrested and charged with violation of oath by public officer and sexual assault. Court records show he is still awaiting trial.

The inmate, no longer incarcerated, is now seeking compensation from Clark and his former employer.

In the federal suit filed in November by attorney Jeffrey Sliz, the plaintiff alleges that Clark sexually assaulted him several times between Dec. 23, 2011, and Jan. 21, 2012. Housed as a male, the transgender inmate “sustained severe injuries and emotional distress,” the suit claims.

No further details about Clark’s alleged actions were revealed. The Daily Post does not identify alleged victims of sexual crimes.

The plaintiff — who was in the Gwinnett County jail facing charges of financial identity fraud, theft by deception and probation violation — is accusing Conway and the county of not supervising and protecting him properly.

“Defendant Conway, who knew or should have known that transgender inmates are at a greater risk of sexual assault by detention officers, was deliberately indifferent to the risk of harm to Plaintiff by not having policies and procedures in place to address that risk,” the lawsuit said, in part.

The suit also alleged that Gwinnett County “had policies, customs, practices and procedures that were the direct and proximate cause of the sexual assault against plaintiff.”

Earlier this month, attorneys for Conway and the county filed an official response to the suit, denying any culpability in Clark’s alleged actions.

“Plaintiff’s injuries were the proximate result of independent, intervening and superseding causes for which these Defendants are not liable,” the 13-page response said.

The plaintiff is seeking an unspecified amount of money for compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney’s fees.