Mathie v. Fries, CV 91-0176(ADS).

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
Citation935 F. Supp. 1284
Docket NumberNo. CV 91-0176(ADS).,CV 91-0176(ADS).
PartiesMaurice J. MATHIE, Plaintiff, v. Roy FRIES, in both his individual capacity and his official capacity as Sergeant of Security, Suffolk County Correctional Facility, Defendant.
Decision Date05 August 1996

935 F. Supp. 1284

Maurice J. MATHIE, Plaintiff,
v.
Roy FRIES, in both his individual capacity and his official capacity as Sergeant of Security, Suffolk County Correctional Facility, Defendant.

No. CV 91-0176(ADS).

United States District Court, E.D. New York.

August 5, 1996.


935 F. Supp. 1285
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
935 F. Supp. 1286
Arthur V. Graseck, Jr., Port Washington, New York, for plaintiff

Robert J. Cimino, County Attorney, Hauppauge, New York (Robert Cabble, Scott Schneider, Assistant County Attorneys, of counsel), for defendant.

935 F. Supp. 1287

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

SPATT, District Judge.

The issues in this case concern a charge by an inmate at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility of sexual abuse by the Director of Security at the Facility. The complaint sets forth three causes of action. The first cause of action is brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and alleges violations of the plaintiff's constitutional rights. The second cause of action is a state law claim for assault and battery. The final cause is based on a state law claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

I. THE TRIAL-FINDINGS OF FACT

Prior to the events at issue in this case, the plaintiff Maurice J. Mathie (the "plaintiff" or "Mathie") had led a sordid life culminating in the commission of a homicide on August 20, 1989. He was, from an early age, a heavy drug user and stole jewelry from his mother to pay for drugs. He admitted that he collected large sums of money for a drug dealer and at one point in time was paid $1500 per day in cash and drugs. In fact, while incarcerated at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility he made telephone calls to a drug dealer's beeper number.

In August 1989, Mathie was indicted for murder in the second degree and incarcerated, as a pretrial detainee, in the Suffolk County Correctional Facility in Riverhead, New York ("SCCF"). The defendant Roy Fries (the "defendant" or "Fries") was, in 1989 and 1990, a sergeant and the head of internal security at the SCCF. Fries was employed by the Sheriff of Suffolk County in various capacities from 1969 for a period of 26 years until April 24, 1995, when he retired.

Called as a witness in the plaintiff's case, Fries testified that, as of February and March of 1990, he was bisexual and he knew that Mathie was a homosexual. As defined in Webster's Third New International Dictionary, a bisexual person possesses character and behavior typical of both sexes, and has sexual desires for members of both sexes.

In 1977 Fries was accused of improper conduct with regard to an inmate in the Suffolk County Jail in Yaphank, one Carlton Kruger. Fries was charged with fraternization with Kruger and was censured and instructed not to deal with prisoners on a social basis.

At the Riverhead SCCF, Fries, as head of internal security, had two offices. One was downstairs on the main floor and the second office was on the second floor. The second office could be locked from the inside, so that a person could not enter the office from the outside, even with a key. The second floor office had no windows. During this period Fries carried handcuffs while on duty. Fries used the second floor office to interview inmates. He also used the office to interrogate confidential informants. One of his duties was to assign inmates to certain areas in the facility, including protective custody and special housing, as a security measure. Fries had the power to place inmates in and to remove them from protective custody. For example, he placed all known homosexuals in the south block.

In early 1990 Fries had daily contact with the inmates. He used selected "informants," defined by him as persons who proved they were deemed reliable as a result of prior activities. He also used "snitches" who were inmates who wanted to be informants but were not reliable. Informants received certain benefits from Fries at the SCCF.

The issue of the plaintiff's visits to the second floor office of Fries is material in this case. Fries himself kept no records as to who visited with him on what dates. The only record of such visits were the logs in the housing area and in the lobby. Significantly, the Court finds that inmate Mathie was a private visitor to the Fries office much more frequently and for longer periods of time than any other inmate. On this subject, Fries testified as follows:

Q It's a fact, is it not, that during the period from December to April, December '89 to April of '90, Maurice Mathie was in your presence privately in your office much more frequently than any other prisoner?
A He was sent down to security probably much more than any inmate, yes.
935 F. Supp. 1288
Q And is it your view that even though he was sent down he didn't find his way — is it your contention that even though he was sent down to security, some many more times than others, he did not on each occasion find his way to security?
A I'm sure he found his way.
Q Well, on each and every time that he was sent down to security, did he go to security?
A To my knowledge, yes.
Q And it's a fact, is it not, that he did visit security during that time period, December '89 to April of '90, 20 or more times?
A That's what the books reflect, yes.

(Tr. at 41).*

In addition to the plaintiff's visits to the Fries office that were logged in, the Court finds that there were other visits by the plaintiff that were not recorded anywhere. These visits emanated from a practice of Fries to go to the visiting area, encounter the plaintiff and his visitor, and request that the plaintiff stop at his office directly from the visiting area. Those visits by Mathie to Fries' office would not be recorded in any log or other record. In addition, sometimes Fries would "reach out" for an inmate, and he kept no records of such visits.

In this regard the Court credits the testimony of the plaintiff's mother Shirley Mathie, with regard to these additional unlogged visits:

Q Now, during the period that your son was confined at the jail, do you recall with what frequency you visited him?
A Visiting was every other day. It's according to the alphabet. And I went every other day.
Q Referring to your testimony a minute ago, about when was it that you had this conversation with Sergeant Fries?
A I believe it was in January of '90.
Q And after you first had that conversation with him, did you ever see him again?
A Yes, many times in the visiting room, in the inmates' visiting room.
Q Do you recall any conduct or activities engaged in by him after you had first met him and while you were visiting your son?
A He would come in, say hello, how are you, kind of knock on the table and tell my son to come to his office after the visit.
Q How many times did he do that?
A Many. Many times.

(Tr. at 155).

In addition the Court finds that some of these visits in the second floor security office were lengthy, as long as an hour at a time, or longer. Further, Fries conceded that during the first three months of 1990, he met with Mathie more than he met with any other prisoner.

Q You would agree, wouldn't you, that you spent some 20 hours with — well, you had some 18 visits with Mr. Mathie?
A Okay.
Q Is that accurate? Do you acknowledge that?
A Yes.
Q And one or more of these visits was an hour long?
A Yes.
Q And that was more time than you would spend with most prisoners, isn't that so?
MR. CABBLE: Objection.
THE COURT: Overruled.
A Yes.

(Tr. at 102).

Fries testified that he first met Mathie when the plaintiff made a request to be moved to another housing area because he thought he was going to be sexually abused by a "big black inmate." His first meeting with Mathie, on January 24, 1990, was in the first floor office. As a result of this request, Fries placed Mathie in protective custody. Fries said he regarded Mathie as a "snitch," an inmate who wanted to be an informant, "because he called all the time." This first meeting lasted for approximately five hours. During this meeting Mathie told Fries that he was a homosexual. Although Fries testified that Mathie initiated every meeting between

935 F. Supp. 1289
him and Fries, the Court does not credit this testimony. On the contrary, the Court finds that Fries initiated most of the meetings

Although purportedly, Fries did not recall much of what went on during these meetings, curiously, Fries testified that, somehow, Mathie knew his home address and his unlisted home telephone number. Even more surprising, Fries testified that during these meetings, Mathie admitted to committing the murder he was charged with, and Fries conceded that he did not disclose that incriminating information to anyone. Despite the fact that Mathie was indicted for that murder and had not yet pled guilty to that crime, Fries failed to disclose this material inculpatory admission. Not only did he fail to disclose this admission, but he lied to Internal Affairs Investigator Johnson, and initially told the investigator that Mathie did not confess to him.

One of the benefits given to informants was the right to make phone calls from Fries' office. Fries conceded that the plaintiff, although not an informant, was also given that privilege. Asked to describe what occurred in these many visits to his second floor security office, Fries stated that Mathie used his phone to call his attorney and "maybe his mother, maybe his sister." Fries said he had a practice of letting inmates make phone calls from his office, "if he felt it was necessary." The Court finds that Fries never satisfactorily explained what took place in his office during these meetings.

On cross-examination, in response to questions by the Assistant County Attorney, Fries testified that he had no sexual contact with Mathie, did not handcuff him to a pipe in the second floor security office and did not sodomize him. Again, the Court declines to credit this testimony; the great weight of the evidence proves otherwise.

The plaintiff Maurice J. Mathie is presently...

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