‘I struggle to this day’: Sexual assault victim suing Va. Peninsula Regional Jail speaks out

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WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — The victim at the center of a multi-million-dollar federal lawsuit against the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail is talking only with 10 On Your Side.

She says a jail officer sexually assaulted her several times starting in 2017. 

“I felt embarrassed like I had no control,” the victim said.

The only way to talk with the sexual assault victim is by phone.  She’s serving prison time in Richmond, but it was at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail where she says a corrections officer sexually assaulted her.

“I was working in the laundry room and the officer came up behind me and assaulted me,” she added. “He placed his hands inside my pants.”

That was the first of more than a dozen times officer Henry Rhim assaulted the victim.

“He had put me in the office about a week after the first assault and said if I were to speak to anybody, no one would believe me and they would believe him, because he worked there for so many years and they would ship me far away.”

Rhim worked at the jail for 13 years.  He has since been convicted of sexually assaulting the inmate and is serving prison time.

The victim has now filed a $2-million civil lawsuit Norfolk Federal Court against the jail. 

She still feels the effects to this day.

“I struggle to this day,” she said. “I have a lot of trust issues. Sometimes you don’t know how bad it was going to be that day.” 

We contacted jail administrators, who refused to comment on pending litigation. Jail staff also would not tell us if they made any changes to policy or procedures after the criminal case against Rihm. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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