NORFOLK -- A male to female transgendered woman says 'she' was not only harassed while in a holding cell, but also says that deputies did little to protect her.
Transgender woman complains of harassment in jail
Janelle Phares says not only did inmates heckle her, "she" claims deputies did not do enough to stop them.
Janelle Phares says that another inmate touched her chest and mocked her while at the jail in Norfolk last week.
'We all make mistakes. We all have to pay for our mistakes, but while paying for our mistakes, we shouldn't be subject to sexual harassment or being violated,' said Phares.
She pleaded guilty to a larceny charge for stealing vitamins for her hormone therapy.
Phares says she has had some surgeries for her transition to a female but hasn't hasn't had major surgery. Her license still classifies her as a male.
'She came in with some padding on and some tights and maybe the appearances of being a female, but her body parts suggest she's still a male,' said Paula Miller of the Norfolk Sheriff's Office.
Miller also pointed out that Phares complained about the incident after she was released from the holding cell.
'The only reason why I didn't say anything to the deputies while in custody was because when I first went into custody another deputy had made a mockery of my lifestyle, so I kind of felt uncomfortable and was already was in fear of my life because of what I had done,' added Phares.
Deputies say that Phares still has the option to take out a warrant against the other inmate.
Phares says she plans to wait on filing the warrant and filing a lawsuit against the City of Norfolk until after her petty larceny charge is settled.
Attorney Mike Goodove says that the jail and the courts have the discretion to separate inmates like Phares.
'Safety of the inmates is certainly a concern, and the jail has to balance the number of inmates the population inmates because of safety concerns,' said Goodove.
He added, 'From a legal perspective, the jailer in this case the Commonwealth, the sheriff is clothed with a certain amount of discretion they can exercise.'
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