Arrests, abuse, lawsuits hit Oregon women's prison

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The state of Oregon has paid $1.2 million to 17 current and former inmates of Coffee Creek Correctional Facility to settle lawsuits stemming from sexual abuse by correctional workers but security weaknesses identified three years ago remain unaddressed.

The Oregonian (http://bit.ly/Jgj43P) reports illegal conduct at the women's prison in Wilsonville has been traced back to 2002, about one year after the prison opened, but that reports of abuse continue.

Two men have been arrested this year on charges of custodial sexual misconduct.

Corrections Department director Colette Peters says the department has put checks and balances in place but boundaries were still crossed.

Salem attorney Brian Lathen, who represents 14 victims, says the state needs to clean house. He describes the problem as an epidemic.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com