United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Stephen C. Baptiste
New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster et al.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
K. Johnstone United States Magistrate Judge.
C. Baptiste, an inmate at the New Hampshire State Prison
(“NHSP”), has filed a complaint (doc. no. 1)
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the
defendants, acting in their individual and official
capacities, have violated his Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth
Amendment rights. Baptiste's complaint is before the
court for preliminary review, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a);
LR 4.3(d)(1), and for consideration of the request for
preliminary injunctive relief in the complaint.
complaint, Baptiste alleges that on December 18, 2014, he
attended a Christmas holiday event in the NHSP gym, which was
attended by approved inmates and their families. After the
event ended, and the visiting family members left, the other
attendees and approximately ten corrections officers remained
in the gym.
corrections officer, identified by Baptiste as John Doe #2,
directed the inmates to submit to a strip search in the gym,
in front of all of the other inmates present, corrections
officers Baptiste identifies as John Does #2-#11, supervisory
corrections officers Maj. Jon Fouts, Lt. Ernie Orlando, and
Sgt. Foncier,  and a female corrections officer, Kelly
Jardine, without the benefit of privacy barriers.
Baptiste's strip search involved removing his clothing,
manipulating his genitals, and squatting and coughing.
Baptiste further asserts that the strip search was conducted
in view of a video surveillance camera.
the incident, Baptiste filed administrative grievances with
Fouts, NHSP Warden Richard Gerry, and New Hampshire
Department of Corrections (“DOC”) Commissioner
William Wrenn. Baptiste's grievance to Wrenn was answered
by DOC Director of Security and Training Christopher Kench.
All of the grievances were denied.
also filed a complaint with Jean Carrol, the Director of
Prison Rape Elimination Act (“PREA”) standards at
the DOC, alleging that the strip search was sexual
misconduct, which Baptiste describes as
“staff-on-inmates voyeurism, ” that violated
PREA. Baptiste states that Carrol spoke with Baptiste, but
failed to conduct an appropriate investigation or report her
findings to appropriate authorities.
Baptiste wrote a letter to New Hampshire Attorney General
Joseph Foster, asking that the strip search incident be
investigated as a crime. Foster's office referred the
matter to the DOC Director of Investigations Colon Forbes,
and otherwise declined to conduct an investigation. Baptiste
alleges that neither Foster nor Forbes conducted an adequate
criminal investigation of the incident.
determining whether a pro se pleading states a claim, the
court construes the pleading liberally. See Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Disregarding any legal
conclusions, the court considers whether the factual content
in the pleading and inferences reasonably drawn therefrom,
taken as true, state a claim to relief. Hernandez-Cuevas
v. Taylor, 723 F.3d 91, 102-03 (1st Cir. 2013) (citing
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).
Strip Search Claims