The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to pay out a total of $3.9 million to three women to settle claims that a sheriff’s deputy sexually assaulted them while they were in custody at Century Regional Detention Facility.
A settlement of $2.25 million was approved for two women who filed suit together against the county, alleging that Deputy Giancarlo Scotti — now charged with multiple felony counts for sexual assault — had separately forced each of them to have oral sex and raped one of them.
The suit included a demand for damages for civil rights violations, alleging that Scotti, 32, “exploited opportunities that were provided by the county’s deliberate indifference to the safety of the two plaintiffs and other victims.”
According to one of the plaintiffs, who was pregnant at the time of the alleged assault, Scotti was “known as a `cool’ guard, but known for flirting with the women inmates.”
She alleged that in the late summer or early fall of 2017, Scotti stopped by her cell as she was changing clothes and wearing only a T-shirt, and demanded that she spread her legs open, then told her, “Come here, get on your knees” and forced her to have oral sex. When finished, he “patted her on the butt and said, `So we have an understanding,”’ according to the civil complaint.
The woman said she was retaliated against after being interviewed by internal affairs investigators, reclassified as high security, had privileges revoked and was inappropriately shackled and restrained when going to and from court hearings.
The other plaintiff accused Scotti of leading her to the showers on Sept. 12, 2017, where he then allegedly forced her to have oral sex and raped her before threatening her not to tell anyone. She saved some of his semen on a tissue and told a counselor about the attack the next day, according to the lawsuit.
“The CRDF retaliated by moving (the inmate) from her cell, preventing access to other women inmates at the CRDF (including her former cellmate),” the suit alleges. “The negative treatment by the CRDF staff exacerbated the trauma.”
The board voted to pay $1.65 million to a third woman who filed a claim. The county did not disclose background on her claim — which was settled without a subsequent lawsuit filing — in board documents.
Other women have since filed additional lawsuits against Scotti, who is facing six felony counts and two misdemeanor charges involving alleged assaults on a half-dozen female inmates in the Lynwood jail between March and September 2017.
Because the inmates’ names are not disclosed in the criminal complaint, it is not clear whether those alleged victims include the women who settled with the county.
Deputy District Attorney Hyunah Suh has alleged that in one instance, Scotti ordered two cellmates to perform oral sex on him and later took the women to a shower area, where he had allegedly had unlawful sexual intercourse with both of them.
Scotti was placed on administrative leave and an investigation was started immediately when one of the women told an instructor about the alleged assault, according to Sheriff Jim McDonnell.
An attorney for Scotti — who is free on $400,000 bond — has said his client is not guilty.
“Sheriff’s Deputy Giancarlo Scotti never sexually assaulted anybody,” Anthony Falangetti told the Los Angeles Times in February.
Scotti could face up to seven years and four months in state prison if convicted as charged, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The board voted without comment to approve both payouts.
Board documents included only boilerplate language about the risks and uncertainties of further litigation in recommending settlement.
The county is working to comply with the 2003 Prison Rape Elimination Act but a draft audit report published by the Los Angeles Times in March after a public records act request found the Century Regional Detention Facility failing nearly all standards.