JDI IN THE NEWS - ARCHIVED

Molly Markland, UT Alumnus, Prison Rape Victim Speaks Out Against Sexual Abuse, The Daily Texan, Feb. 8, 1999.

"Prisoner rape may be the quickest, most cost-effective way to produce a sociopath or even psychopath. Many prison rape survivors become rapists themselves in a demented attempt to regain what they think is their lost manhood."
Tom Cahill, president, Stop Prisoner Rape, Inc.

A former UT student and long-time political activist spoke on campus Saturday about his drive to eliminate prison rape in US. correctional institutions.

An audience of more than 30, mainly Amnesty International members, listened as Tom Cahill, president of Stop Prison Rape, Inc. explained how personal experience drove him to take action.

"Tens of thousands of mainly young men are sexually assaulted daily in U.S. correctional institutions," Cahill said.. "Many, if not most, are confined for a little too much marijuana."

Cahill added that prison rape may decrease the likelihood of rehabilitation.

"Prisoner rape maybe the quickest, most cost-effective way to produce a sociopath or even psychopath," he said. "Many prison rape survivors become rapists themselves in a demented attempt to regain what they think is their lost manhood."

Cahill was jailed October 1968 for civil disobedience in San Antonio.

During Cahill's time in Bexar County Jail, he was held in a gorilla cage, prison slang for a deliberately overcrowded and racially mixed cell block.

"'Fresh meat,' a burly young prisoner announced, as the grinning guard brought me to the cage," Cahill said. "My cellmates beat, tortured and gang-raped me for 24 hours."

Cahill alleges his rape resulted from an FBI operation to halt his anti-war involvement.

He said his tormentors were told he was a convicted child molester, making him a prime target for "turning out" - the prolonged sexual abuse of new inmates.

"The FBI does have primary jurisdiction in working and continuing civil rights investigations and alleged civil rights violations in and around correctional institutions," said Darren Holmes, spokesman for the San Antonio FBI office. "It is a matter we take very seriously. If this individual feels as though his civil rights were violated, he needs to come forward and file a complaint with our office."

Cahill has filed a freedom of information act, basing his claims upon two partially censored memos he received. Federal Judge Eugene Lynch denied Cahill the censored portions. The censored memos make no reference to Cahill's rape.

The October 1968 memo refers to Cahill's "anti-Vietnam activities" and FBI attempts to "neutralize his effect."

The second memo, dated after Cahill's release, reports is that he and his sister left San Antonio for California and "leftist activities" in San Antonio have been curtailed.

Cahill said the situation in prison has escalated since his days as a victim.

"The rape of prisoners in U.S. correctional institutions is such a gross violation of human and civil rights that it must be among the blackest marks on the soul and history of the country," Cahill said.

Adult male prison inmates are raped 83,000 times doily, according to Stop Prison Rape, Inc.

But Larry Todd, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice public information officer, said prison rape is a rare occurrence.

"We don't think it is to the degree indicated by [Cahill's] statistics," Todd said. "But prison is not a nice place to be."