An intersex woman who was held in a men’s prison in Miami has filed a $5 million (€4.4 million) lawsuit.
Fiordaliza Pichardo, originally from Dominican Republic, was arrested three years ago at Miami’s international airport on a decades-old drug trafficking charge that was later dismissed.
She was initially booked as a female at the Metro West detention center. But when medical staff ‘examined’ her, they reclassified her as a man because they determined she had ‘non-traditional male characteristics’.
Lawyers say Pichardo was then placed with 40 male inmates in an open cell where she was allegedly taunted and sexually harassed.
‘She was humiliated,’ attorney David Kubiliun told the Associated Press. ‘The officials acted with deliberate indifference by failing to protect her rights.’
Pichardo, a 53-year-old married mother of three, was traveling to Miami in 2013 for the birth of her third grandchild and had previously visited the US without incident.
Miami-Dade corrections spokesperson Chandra Gavin said the department does not comment on pending litigation.