LGBT Advocacy Clinic Wins Historic Settlement for Client


Under the guidance of Professor Susan Hazeldean, students in the Law School’s LGBT Advocacy Clinic recently obtained a historic $100,000 settlement for a transgender woman who was brutally raped while incarcerated in a maximum security men’s prison. The Civil Rights Clinic at Cardozo School of Law served as co-counsel.

LeslieAnn Manning, a 51-year-old trans woman, claimed she was raped on February 5, 2013, while incarcerated at Sullivan Correctional Facility, a men’s prison located about two hours north of New York City. For the last five years, she fought to gain recognition for the harm she had endured, finally obtaining the settlement with the state’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision two weeks ago.

“We’re so pleased to have such a good result for our client,” said Hazeldean, who founded the clinic. “Many students worked on the case over the years including Caitlin Bassett ‘18, Jonathan Heiden ’17, Alec Nelson ’19, and Deborah Soh ’19.”

The settlement is one of largest amounts ever awarded for a failure to protect case involving a trans prisoner alleging rape or sexual assault, and it is the first settlement paid to a New York state prisoner for sexual abuse.

“I would hope that this will cause the Department of Corrections to take the safety of LGBT prisoners seriously, and to do what they are required to do under the law,” Hazeldean said. “The safety of people like Ms. Manning, who are transgender in prison, will not just be an afterthought.”

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than one-third of transgender people locked up in prisons and jails experience sexual assault—the highest rate of any demographic group studied. Hazeldean believes the system needs to do more to protect all inmates from sexual assault.

Read more: Trans Woman Wins $100K Settlement After Reporting Brutal Rape in a Men's Prison
Trans Woman Who Reported Her Rape in Men’s Prison Wins Historic $100,000 Settlement