South Dakota Dentist Charged After Allegations of Sexual Abuse Against Inmates

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Minnehaha County Jail

Minnehaha County Jail in Sioux Falls, where a subcontracted dentist allegedly sexually abused several inmates.

Sioux Falls Dentist Charged With Inappropriately Touching Inmates

A dentist who was subcontracted to work at the Minnehaha County Jail in Sioux Falls, SD has been arrested based on allegations that he touched inmates in an inappropriate manner. 37-year-old Andrew Heinish turned himself in and posted a $10,000 cash bond on Thursday, July 19. He was working as a dentist at Apple White Dental in Worthington and had been subcontracted to the jail by a company called Armor Correctional Health Facilities.

The investigation began on June 9 after an inmate complained to staff that Henish had touched her inappropriately at the dentist office inside the jail. Authorities worked together with the Department of Criminal Investigations and Armor Correctional Healthcare to launch an investigation into the matter. They interviewed the suspect’s patients and found at least five other women who claim to be victims of alleged sexual contact by Heinish.

Heinish faces the following criminal charges:

  • Two counts of sexual contact between a jail employee and an adult detainee
  • Two counts of attempted sexual acts between a jail employee and adult detainee
  • Two counts of sexual contact without consent with a person capable of consenting
  • Two counts of attempted sexual contact without consent with a person capable of consenting

Is It Common For Prison Staff To Sexually Assault Inmates?

Unfortunately, stories of prison and jail staff sexually abusing inmates are nothing new. A 2014 study by the Justice Department found that allegations of sexual abuse in prisons and jails have been increasing and that half of the allegations were made against correctional officers. These allegations are often not taken seriously, as only about ten percent of claims resulted in an investigation. Approximately one-third of staff that were found to have abused inmates were permitted to resign before the end of the investigation and were not prevented from getting jobs at other correctional facilities.

What Are The Legal Options For Victims of Prison Staff Sexual Abuse?

Sexual predators who work in prisons often choose those jobs because they think they can easily get away with abusing inmates. Many victims of this abuse feel powerless and like there’s nothing they can do to stop the abuse or see the perpetrator brought to justice. However, in some cases, victims have the option to file lawsuits over prison abuse and retaliation for reporting abuse.

Taking legal action as the victim of correctional facility sexual abuse is a complicated process. Unfortunately, current inmates are required to file complaints through the facility’s administrative complaint system before filing an actual lawsuit. Whether you’re looking to file a lawsuit for a currently incarcerated family member or you’re looking to take legal action for something that happened while you were incarcerated, we advise speaking to an experienced victims rights lawyer in order to understand your legal options.

Local Coverage From KDLT News

Location of Minnehaha County Correctional Facility

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2018-08-03T10:22:13+00:00

About the Author:

Brian Kent, Esq. is a partner at Laffey, Bucci & Kent. Brian is nationally recognized as a leading attorney victims' rights lawyer. He has represented several clients who have been injured because of criminal actions of another including, sexual abuse cases, hit by drunk driver cases, and negligent security cases.

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