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The Latest: Sheriff says transgender sometimes isolated

NEW ORLEANS — The Latest on a federal lawsuit in which a transgender former New Orleans jail inmate claims she was raped by a male inmate at the jail that opened last September (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

A spokesman for the New Orleans sheriff says gender identity is not considered when inmates are assigned to jail housing.

However, if a male inmate is deemed to have "a strong female appearance," the inmate is placed in protective custody.

Spokesman Phil Stelly said in a Wednesday email that Sheriff Marlin Gusman's office would have no comment on a specific case — a lawsuit filed this week by a transgender woman who says she was raped last year by a male inmate. Stelly said the office policy is to withhold comment on pending litigation.

The federal lawsuit says a transgender inmate was raped after being locked up with a male prisoner in the newly opened New Orleans jail.

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11 a.m.

A federal lawsuit says a transgender inmate was raped after being locked up with a male prisoner last year in the newly opened New Orleans jail.

The lawsuit says the victim is a transgender woman arrested last September for failing to appear in court on a disturbing the peace charge. The suit names Sheriff Marlin Gusman, a jail warden and a deputy as defendants.

The lawsuit claims she was put into a cell with a violent inmate who raped her. It also claims a guard didn't respond to screams for help.

Gusman heralded the opening of the new jail building as a milestone in reforming the violent New Orleans lockup. Critics say problems from the old lockup persisted, including failures to properly classify and separate violent inmates from vulnerable ones.