Crime

Guard Michael Arnold's Sex Assault of Prisoner Who'd Just Given Birth Prompts Lawsuit

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The story was broken by 9News, which chose not to name the woman at the center of the case. But her attorney, David Lane, says she chose to file the suit under her name, Angela Weishoff, because she wanted to publicly decry the act of violence perpetrated during one of her most vulnerable moments.

Lane acknowledges that Weishoff has been in trouble with the law over the years: "She's had drug problems and has been in and out of jail," he says. But that hardly justifies what happened to her on September 22, 2012.

According to the suit, Weishoff began having contractions while in the custody of the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department. As such, she was transported to Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree under armed guard. She gave birth there that night and her daughter was subsequently brought to her room to spend her first night there.

During her hospital stay, Weishoff wasn't under the supervision of ACSD personnel. The department contracts with private companies to handle such tasks -- in this case, C&D Security, for which Arnold was employed. He was assigned to her recovery room after the birth.

Weishoff had been given an epidural during her delivery, so she was groggy when he entered the room. But she remembers Arnold giving her the "ground rules" of what he expected from her before seguing into harassing comments such as "What is a good girl like you doing here?"

After that, the suit maintains, Arnold dimmed the lights, lowered the guard rail on her bed, opened her hospital gown to expose her body and unzipped his pants as he began kissing and touching her. He allegedly tried to put his penis in her mouth on two separate occasions before a nurse noticed the dimmed lights and entered the room, causing Arnold to quickly re-zip his pants.

Throughout this ordeal, Weishoff's daughter was sleeping in a crib nearby.

Arnold eventually was charged and pleaded guilty to sex assault -- victim in custody. During his sentencing hearing, Douglas County District Court Judge Vincent White unloaded on him in the following passage from the complaint:

Mr. Arnold, when I read this I was horrified. A woman who was pregnant, just had given birth to a baby and was sexually assaulted in a hospital. Sir, I don't know what you were thinking. I don't care that your defense is that it was consensual. I think that's horrific and very hard to believe. And I'll be honest with you, sir, if I had this open to the Court you'd be going to the Department of Corrections.

You were in a position of trust as a security guard watching a young lady who had a baby, and you sexually assaulted her. Just had a baby within hours. It's one of the most horrific fact patterns I've seen in the ten years on the bench, in terms of a position of trust. You were supposed to be there to guard her, and you assaulted her.

Nonetheless, Arnold was only sentenced to a ten-years-to-life probationary sentence: no jail time.

That Arnold wasn't put behind bars for what he did proved a major motivating factor for Weishoff when it came to filing the lawsuit, Lane says.

Continue for more about the lawsuit, including additional photos and the complete document.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts