Une fillette de 8 ans fouillée à nu lors d'une visite à son père dans la prison de Virginie: rapportdecember 27, 2019
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December 6, 2019 | 12:03pm| Updated December 6, 2019 | 1:07pm
An 8-year-old girl was strip-searched by Virginia corrections officials — after being told she wouldn’t be allowed to see her jailbird dad if she refused, according to a report.
The girl — who visited the Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn while accompanied by her father’s girlfriend — was told during the Nov. 24 visit that refusing the search could result in both of them being banned from the state prison, the Virginian-Pilot reports.
“I told her, that means you have to take all of your clothes off or you’re not going to be able to see your dad,” Diamond Peerman, the incarcerated man’s girlfriend, told the newspaper. “That’s when she started crying.”
A Department of Corrections K-9 trained to detect drugs and other contraband had earlier singled out Peerman, requiring that she be searched. Peerman then asked if the girl would also need to strip down, leading a captain to affirm that she would after guards initially said no, the newspaper reports.
Peerman said she informed the guards that she wasn’t the girl’s legal guardian, but was told to sign a consent form approving the search anyway.
State policy allows for such searches, but performing without a legal guardian’s consent violates department policy, a corrections spokeswoman said.
“It is deeply troubling and represents a breach in our protocol,” DOC spokeswoman Lisa Kinney told the newspaper in an email. “We sincerely apologize to this child and her family and will be taking immediate disciplinary action against the person responsible.”
The staffer who authorized the search “didn’t have the authority” to do so, Kinney said, adding that a search of a minor is extremely rare.
No contraband ultimately was found during searches of Peerman and the girl, as well as Peerman’s car. They were allowed to meet with the girl’s father just days before Thanksgiving, but had to settle for a no-contact visit through a pane of glass, the newspaper reports.
The girl — who suffers from bipolar disorder, depression and ADHD — has missed school due to the distressing incident. She’ll no longer make the trip to visit her dad, her mother said.
“Her and her dad have a good relationship … because she gets to go see him every weekend,” she told the newspaper. “But, at the same time, she went through something that traumatized her. I’m not sending her back there.”