Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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June 27, 2014

Arizona worker safety agency reviewing prison rape

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona's workplace safety agency confirmed Thursday that it has launched a review of the rape of a teacher inside a state prison classroom.

The teacher was alone in a classroom with no guard nearby when a convicted rapist assaulted her.

The Arizona Department of Occupational Safety review came a week after a report by The Associated Press highlighted concerns about how the Jan. 30 assault occurred.

The agency said the review was launched as a result of those reports about the rape at the Eyman state prison southeast of Phoenix.

The review doesn't mean a full investigation will be done, agency spokeswoman Rachel Brockway said.

The agency can't give the state Department of Corrections notice that it plans to investigate, and if the agency does proceed it is barred from discussing it unless a citation is issued and no litigation is underway, Brockway said.

The Department of Corrections did not report the assault to ADOSH. It is only required to report incidents in which there is a fatality or more than three people are hospitalized.

A corrections spokesman said the department would have no immediate comment.

Officials previously said there were no security issue at the prison but they are now adding cameras in classrooms. Non-guards statewide were issued pepper spray in the weeks following the assault, but a spokesman said that had already been planned.

The attack occurred at the prison's Meadows Unit, which houses about 1,300 rapists, child molesters and other sex offenders. The teacher was administering a high school equivalency test to about a half-dozen inmates in a classroom with no guard nearby and only a radio to summon help.

The Department of Corrections issued only a bare-bones press release after the attack, but the AP pieced together what had happened based on interviews and investigatory reports obtained under the Arizona Public Records Act.

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