Case Background

Our client is a prisoner at Florence McClure Women's Correctional Facility in Southern Nevada. She was sexually abused by a prison chaplain, Donald Burse, on two separate occasions in August 2020. While Burse was fired after the abuse came to light, and there is a pending criminal case, we are taking on this case because we believe that the Nevada Department of Corrections has not done enough to make sure that such abuse will not happen again in the future.

The Eighth Amendment

Under the Eighth Amendment United States Constitution, prisoners are entitled to "humane conditions" while incarcerated. That applies to the physical condition of the prison facilities and proper medical care and also holds prisons accountable when prison staff takes advantage of or abuses prisoners. When a prison staff member sexually assaults a prisoner, it not only violates Nevada law, it also violates the Constitution. Under the Eighth Amendment, sexual assault in prisons does not only include forcible rape, it also includes sex acts that have been solicited by prison staff through threats of discipline or promising contraband to prisoners. The U.S. Constitution recognizes that prisoners are particularly vulnerable to predatory actions by staff members. Sexual abuse by staff harms the abused prisoner, but the abuse also threatens the safety of everyone else who works or lives in the facility. It undermines the professionalism and discipline of prison staff and the confidence of incarcerated people that prison staff will protect them from abuse.

What We're Seeking

We are fighting to make sure NDOC is fulfilling its constitutional obligations and that our client and all incarcerated women are protected from future sexual misconduct by prison staff. Our client is seeking injunctive and declaratory relief.

Through injunctive relief, the goal is to prevent employees, staff, contractors, or agents of NDOC from carrying out and implementing unlawful policies, practices, and acts that create a substantial risk of harm, including sexual assaults, to Ms. Flynn and other inmates and require NDOC to develop and implement policies, procedures, and practices to ensure inmates are protected from harm due to sexual abuse and harassment such as prohibiting inmates from being in an unmonitored area with staff of the opposite gender.

Another practice we are asking for is prohibiting staff members accused of sexual assault/harassment from having contact with inmates, at least until the matter is fully investigated, prosecuted, and dismissed. We also request that all staff have adequate knowledge, skill, and ability to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse, harassment, and grooming by staff members toward individuals in custody.


Sadmira Ramic, Esq., Christopher M. Peterson, Esq.

Date filed

July 29, 2022


Federal Court


Nancy J. Koppe



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