Congressional Commission to Hear from Arkansas Prison Rape Survivors Today

AUGUST 19, 2005 - Posted at 7:59 a.m. CDT

SAN FRANCISCO - A former Arkansas inmate plans to testify before a congressional commission today about sexual abuse he says he suffered while in the Arkansas prison system.  As a young, bisexual inmate weighing just 123 pounds, Kendall Spruce says he made a perfect target for sexual predators.

Nine months after landing in an Arkansas prison for violating parole for check forgery, he said he had been raped by 27 fellow prisoners, including a cellmate who infected him with HIV.

Spruce, now 42 years old, plans to tell his story tomorrow to a congressional commission studying prison rape and sexual abuse.  Other witnesses will include juveniles attacked in adult prisons and transgender men and women.

The National Prison Rape Elimination Commission was created by Congress and was given about a year to prepare a report on the problem and propose national standards governing the prevention, investigation and punishment of abuse.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)