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NC Inmate Shane Smith Wins Lawsuit Against Edith Pope, A Former Craggy Correctional Center Supervisor

11:01 AM, Dec 26, 2013   |    comments
  • Shane Smith, former Craggy Correctional Center Inmate
  • Edith Pope (Photo: Asheville Citizen Times)
  • Shane Smith, Edith Pope (Photos: Asheville Citizen Times)
    
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ASHEVILLE - A former Craggy Correctional Center inmate prevailed in a federal lawsuit claiming that he was sexually assaulted by a prison supervisor who later accused him of rape.

According to Asheville Citizen Times, a jury concluded that convicted murderer Shane Smith's constitutional rights were violated by Edith Pope, who served as the Buncombe County prison's assistant superintendent before her 2006 conviction for sexual battery by a custodian.

However, the jury ruled that Smith is entitled to just $1 in compensation, according to court records. The trial was held this month in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem.

"The jury vindicated Mr. Smith," said his attorney, D.J. O'Brien. "Its verdict proves that Edith Pope violated his rights by abusing her position to have a nonconsensual sexual relationship with Mr. Smith while he was under her supervision and control.

"Although Mr. Smith believes a significant money damages award would have been appropriate, he is gratified by the outcome."

Pope, 57, pleaded guilty in August 2006 in Buncombe County Superior Court to seven counts of sexual activity by a custodian and was sentenced to 22-36 months in prison. She was released in June 2008.

Smith, 44, was convicted in 1990 in Polk County of second-degree murder, arson and burglary and was sentenced to life in prison. He is eligible for parole in 2020.

In the civil case, the trial judge dismissed claims against Theodis Beck, former secretary of the N.C. Department of Correction, and other state prison officials.

But the jury found that Smith is "entitled to recover on his claim that Edith Pope intentionally, maliciously and sadistically committed acts that violated Shane Smith's constitutional right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment," according to the verdict sheet.

The lawsuit, filed in October 2008, claimed Smith's constitutional rights were violated because prison officials had an obligation to provide safe confinement conditions and retaliated against him for disclosing the abuse.

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