On November 6, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the Law Offices of Timothy P. O’Brien filed a lawsuit against Allegheny County on behalf of Jules Williams, a transgender woman who was repeatedly abused while incarcerated at the Allegheny County Jail (ACJ).

Williams endured sexual, physical, and verbal abuse during several stays at ACJ between 2015 and 2017. In 2015, she was housed with a male inmate, despite her repeated requests to be housed in a single cell, and was raped multiple times by the other inmate over four days.

The complaint filed states that ACJ’s refusal to house Williams with female inmates is the jail’s standard practice with transgender women at the jail, in violation of their constitutional rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.

In May 2022, Allegheny County agreed to pay $300,000 in damages to Ms. Williams to settle the lawsuit. 


Sara Rose, Witold Walczak, Dylan Cowart (ACLU of Pennsylvania); Timothy O’Brien, Margaret Coleman, Alec Wright (Law Offices of Timothy P. O’Brien)

Date filed

November 6, 2017


Court of Common Pleas for Allegheny County