JDI IN THE NEWS - 2004

Frank Stoltze, Prison Rape, KPCC 89.3 FM (Pasadena, CA), November 10, 2004.

Voiceover: A national prison rape activist toured the LA County Jail yesterday, and came out praising its efforts to protect vulnerable inmates. KPCC's Frank Stoltze reports.

FRANK STOLTZE: T.J. Parsell was a slender 17-year-old in 1978 when he used a toy gun to hold up a Michigan PhotoMat. He was caught and convicted of robbery.

T.J. PARSELL: I went into an adult prison and was raped within 24 hours by several men. They spiked my drink with Thorazine and raped me and when they were done they flipped a coin to see which one I belonged to.

STOLTZE: For four years, Parsell was raped - too frightened to tell guards. He got out and became a software executive. But traumatized and ashamed, he still kept quiet. Three years ago, he found L.A. based Stop Prisoner Rape online and became an activist.

Parsell was back in a cellblock for the first time, touring L.A. County Jail's innovative K-11 dorm for gays. He praised the program, saying gays are four times more likely to be raped in prison. An estimated ten percent of all prisoners are raped --- either by fellow inmates or guards. Parsell said it's no joke, despite what you hear.

PARSELL: Prison rape is still very much joked about. People joke about somebody dropping a bar of soap, and they think nothing of it.

STOLTZE: Parsell met with gay activists, rape counselors and others in LA this week, hoping to form a coalition to bring more attention to the problem of prison rape. Frank Stoltze, 89.3, KPCC.