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Guard Says She Was Fired For Whistleblowing Woman Who Worked At Center For Sexual Predators Files Suit

A former guard at Washington’s center for sexually violent predators has sued the state, claiming she was fired after reporting outrageous and illegal activities there.

Dawn James, who was a psychiatric security attendant at the Special Commitment Center at the state prison in Monroe, filed the lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court. The state, its Department of Social and Health Services and center Superintendent David Weston are defendants.

James alleges that other staff members at the center deliberately provoked residents, slept on the job and used drugs. One staff member exposed himself to residents from within a glass security booth and another gave a resident pornographic videotapes, the lawsuit says.

When she reported the behavior to her superiors, she was subjected to retaliation and threatened by other staff members, the suit says. Several tried to bribe a resident to attack her, and she was abandoned by fellow staff members while trying to control a potentially violent resident, James alleges.

When her allegations led to a formal investigation by the DSHS Office of Special Investigations in May 1994, the retaliation intensified, the lawsuit says.

She was denied work hours and was sexually propositioned and touched by her supervisor, according to the lawsuit.

Weston fired her last October because she had carried a razor-blade box cutter she used in another section into the sexual predator unit, according to the lawsuit and her lawyer, Hollis Hill.

But the center’s rules at the time did not prohibit staff members from carrying razor products.