The state's Department of Corrections harbors an "overt culture of sexual abuse" by prison guards, and department leaders have done little to stop it, according to a lawsuit pending in federal court.
Ten female Colorado prison inmates sued the department last month, claiming repeated acts of sex abuse by male corrections officers.
The complaint details more than a dozen instances in which it claims officers in two prisons — the Denver Women's Correctional Facility and the since-closed, privately run Brush Correctional Facility — coerced women into performing sex acts on them.
The officers made threats to have the women "written up" or to make life difficult if the women did not submit, according to the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, Department of Corrections officials failed to take "substantive remedial actions" to stop it, the lawsuit charges.