JDI IN THE NEWS - 2005

Christopher Curtis, Warrant issued for Texas prison rape victim, PlanetOut Network, November 2, 2005.

An arrest warrant was issued Tuesday in Texas for Roderick Keith Johnson, a gay former inmate who recently lost his lawsuit that accused the Texas prison system of ignoring his pleas to be protected from prison rape.

The warrant stems from Johnson's failure to appear Tuesday morning at a summons hearing about possible parole violations. He reportedly failed five drug tests in recent months.

Johnson, who was released from jail in 2003 after doing time for burglary, claimed during his nearly four years in prison that gangs forced him to be a sex slave, while officials never took his complaints seriously or kept him in a safer area.

During a hearing at last month's trial, Johnson testified that some employees ridiculed him, suggesting he get a boyfriend for protection.

Out of the five current prisoners who testified, one revealed that inmates had sex with Johnson, paying the prison gang that owned him with commissary items worth $3 to $7.

Jurors, however, dismissed Johnson's suit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees who worked at the Allred Unit near Wichita Falls.

"He probably was (raped), but he never came out with a rape test," juror Randy Shelton told the Associated Press.

Andrea Cavanaugh Kern, a spokeswoman for Stop Prisoner Rape, told the PlanetOut Network, "We were disappointed that the jury didn't find merit with Mr. Johnson's claims. Not many sexual-assault cases have witnesses, and this one did. But we are glad Mr. Johnson's case was brought to a court because it exposed several people to the brutality that occurs in prisons -- especially to members of the LGBT community."

Jurors said part of the problem was Johnson's claim that he had not used illegal drugs during his parole. Johnson's parole officer contradicted that testimony, claiming Johnson had tested positive for illegal drugs and even admitted to using them.

If Johnson is arrested, he will remain in jail until a Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles official determines whether he must return to prison or remain free under supervision.

Johnson is already under mandatory supervision. His 2003 release was followed by a parole that would expire in 2007.