SURVIVOR TESTIMONY

Some of these stories are graphic, uncensored accounts of actual rapes and surrounding circumstances. The language used may be raw and include street slang. JDI has made only minor edits for spelling and clarity. The views expressed are those of the individual survivor/author, and are not necessarily the views of Just Detention International.

I was sexually assaulted by Officer Zacofsky at Rappahannock Regional Jail in Virginia over a period of months. He was stationed inside the female housing pod and began to approach me with unwanted attention. Later, due to complaints, he was removed from our housing unit. He started sending me messages through other inmates and began stalking me when I went to visitation, classes, or to the medical department. I got ‘promoted’ to become a trustee in the Officer’s Lounge and that day would later become the beginning of something that will haunt me the rest of my life.

While I was preparing food for the staff members, Officer Zacofsky would stare at me, telling me how beautiful he thought I was. Later, he would approach me and state specific personal information about my child, my home, my vehicles, and my dogs, only to threaten that if I reported any of his actions he’d go back to my home.

I tried telling my family and friends during phone conversations, but I’d be approached about the conversations by Officer Zacofsky and threatened more. I attempted to alert my husband during visitation, only to be blocked in and cornered by the officer later. Other inmates and staff noticed his behavior. Staff joked and encouraged him. I was trapped and scared. I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. I documented everything.

In October 2007, Officer Zacofsky pushed me against the wall and forcibly kissed me. I was so scared. He then threatened physical harm to myself and to my family. It only got worse. From November 2007 through January 2008, Officer Zacofsky forced me to perform oral sodomy and raped me. I was helpless. I had no one inside or out that was safe for me to go to.

On February 15, 2008, I was suspended from my trustee job because the jail officials finally decided to investigate the complaints. I was transferred to another jail. I was questioned over a series of weeks by Internal Affairs and investigators. Not once was I asked if I was okay. I was forced to give recorded interviews without an attorney present, even though I requested one, and I was not allowed to speak with a woman counselor. I was not offered any medical care or mental health counseling. Both jails were extremely concerned about the possibility of a pregnancy, so I was later given a pregnancy test. I have not been tested for all STDs.

On March 4, 2008, a detective with the Stafford County Sheriff ’s Office visited me for the last time. He informed me that all of my statements had been verified and that Officer Zacofsky had confessed and would be arrested. He was charged with two felonies: carnal knowledge of an inmate and sodomy by force, threat, or intimidation. In October 2008, Officer Zacofsky pleaded guilty in Stafford Circuit Court to a single felony count of carnal knowledge of an inmate. As part of a plea agreement, he was sentenced to two years in prison, all of which was suspended.

I felt completely left out of the process and was never called to court to testify. My attorneys and I were never informed of the plea agreement, and it was a shock when we read in the paper that the prosecutor had dropped the sodomy charge.

I’ve only recently learned to cope with my situation. The reason I’ve stood up is because of JDI and your support. I’d lay my life down to fight with JDI against prison rape. The prison system took my life and the only reason I finally have it back is because of you. Words can never explain my appreciation for all of you. I’m driven by a determination and hope that JDI has embedded deep in my soul and I’m going to fight for anyone and everyone who’s ever suffered at the hands of corrections officials.

- Loretta, Virginia


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