State pays $250,000 to settle prison rape whistleblower case

For the Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The state Department of Corrections will pay $250,000 to settle claims from a guard who claimed he was retaliated against after reporting rape allegations at Montana Women’s Prison.

Daniel Root claimed he was passed over twice for a promotion after reporting in 2017 allegations of his supervisor’s sexual misconduct with inmates. The results of an investigation into the claims have not been released, but the lieutenant accused of having sex with an inmate resigned in 2019, the Montana State News Bureau reported.

Root said in court filings that he was told filing lawsuits and talking to the press about issues of public concern reflected negatively on his chances for promotion.

He resigned under the terms of the agreement. His attorney told the Montana State News Bureau that Root wanted to put the case behind him. Attorney Kevin Brown said he hopes the case will spur other corrections employees to step forward and report violations of rape reporting requirements.

The Department of Corrections settled a separate retaliation claim from an agency employee earlier this year, also for $250,000. In that case, a former corrections employee said he faced discrimination and retaliation in 2016 for his post-traumatic stress disorder while working at the men’s state prison near Deer Lodge.