Inmates lodge dueling allegations of sex assault at Markham courthouse

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The Markham Courthouse | Google Streetview image

In an apparent breach of protocol, authorities are investigating how a female inmate ended up in a Markham courthouse holding cell with two male inmates in an encounter that was possibly sexual in nature.

Two male inmates last week first told guards they had been placed in the holding area with a female inmate, who threatened them with a syringe and demanded sex; the female inmate claims the men instigated the sexual encounter, a source with knowledge of the investigation said. No syringe was found.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Department has asked State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to investigate claims from jail inmates who have made the opposing claims; the sexual assault is alleged to have occurred in the holding area outside a courtroom at the courthouse.

After an initial investigation, the Sheriff’s Department this week asked the State’s Attorney to take over the probe, said Cara Smith, chief of policy for Sheriff Tom Dart.

It was not clear how male and female inmates were able to have unsupervised contact at the court house, which does not have surveillance cameras. All corrections officers assigned to that shift have been reassigned to other duties, Smith said.

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