An Androscoggin County woman is suing Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce and five county jail employees, alleging she was handcuffed while pregnant, and that her right to privacy was violated when two county corrections officers were stationed in the hospital delivery room while she gave birth two months later.

Jaden Brown, 30, no address listed, and her Portland-based attorney, Sarah Churchill, filed the federal civil rights lawsuit Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Portland.

The suit alleges that handcuffing a pregnant inmate violates jail policy as well as federal and state law and that stationing two corrections officers in the hospital’s labor and delivery room – without her permission or a request by medical staff – violated Brown’s right to privacy. Brown went into labor on Feb. 11, 2019. She was not allowed to have family present during her child’s birth.

Two of the deputies named in the suit were present in the labor and delivery room when Brown gave birth, the suit states. The suit says that both officers saw Brown and her child’s “naked and exposed bodies.”

“Plaintiff did not pose a security risk or danger to anyone while she was a patient at Maine Medical Center during her child’s birth,” the 28-page complaint states.

In July 2018, Brown turned herself in to authorities on an outstanding warrant for violating probation. She was sentenced to 15 months in the Cumberland County Jail. Brown was pregnant when she turned herself in, and was later transferred from the jail to the pre-release center, which is part of the county jail complex.

On or about Dec. 29, 2018, inmates at the pre-release center complained to corrections officers that Brown was threatening to turn them in for using drugs. Brown did not threaten the other inmates, but did report them for using drugs, according to her lawsuit.

Corrections officers decided to remove Brown from the pre-release center back to the jail. At the time, Brown was 35 weeks into her pregnancy, the lawsuit states.

In the suit, Churchill alleges that a corrections officer handcuffed Brown while walking with her across the parking lot back to the jail. At no time did Brown pose a safety or security risk, the suit states.

“As a result of the actions of Defendants, plaintiff has suffered injuries including, but not limited to: anxiety, embarrassment, shame and degradation,” the suit alleges.

When asked what her client was seeking in damages, Churchill responded in an email that damages have not been determined. Compensation will be left up to a jury.

Named as defendants in the civil action are Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce, Major Timothy Kortes, the jail’s head administrator, and four county corrections officers. It was not clear Monday, who will represent the county employees.

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