Ex-inmate allegedly assaulted during extradition

Woman claims she was sexually assaulted, threatened and harassed during trip here from Nevada

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— A former Routt County inmate has filed a lawsuit against a Denver company claiming she was sexually assaulted and subjected to unsafe and inhumane conditions during extradition from Nevada to Steamboat Springs.

Robin Lynn Darbyshire filed the 21-page lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court in Denver against Extraditions International Inc.

The 40-year-old woman claims the company's driver sexually assaulted, threatened and harassed her. She said he did not allow her to shower or sleep and kept her shackled for the majority of the four-day trip.

The driver is also named in the lawsuit.

Officials from Extradition International, which is based in Commerce City, would not comment on the allegations, which took place between May 13 and May 16.

The allegations were investigated by the Routt County Sheriff's Office, but charges were never filed.

"We investigated it thoroughly," Sheriff John Warner said. "There is a possibility this never happened."

Because of the allegations, Warner stopped using the company in May 2001.

Darbyshire was transported from Carson City, Nev., to Routt County because she was wanted in connection with the theft of a vehicle from a Steamboat Springs resident in September 2000. Darbyshire was accused of posing as an auto broker to buy the vehicle and then paying for it with a stolen check.

In March, Darbyshire pleaded guilty to two counts of forgery and was sentenced to six years in prison by 14th Judicial District Judge Joel S. Thompson.

She is serving her sentence in a Colorado Department of Corrections women's facility in Denver.

Because of the vehicle theft, a warrant for Darbyshire's arrest was issued, and she was caught in Carson City. The Routt County Sheriff's Office contracted with Extraditions International to transport the woman to Steamboat Springs.

According to the lawsuit, Darbyshire suffers from emotional distress, physical injury, anxiety and panic attacks and psychological trauma because of the trip, which took her through Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado.

Darbyshire was taken through these states because other suspects were also being extradited, the suit states.

Darbyshire claims that during the trip, two drivers never stopped the van so she could sleep, shower, brush her teeth or remove her contact lenses.

The woman claims she tried to sleep "as best she could while sitting shackled in the back of the van."

She claims the drivers allegedly drove in an unsafe and erratic manner, the suit states.

During a stop in Los Angeles, Darbyshire claims she sat in the van in "sweltering heat" for two hours, the suit states.

Darbyshire also claims her wrists were bruised because the handcuffs were placed too tightly around her wrists, and her waist was "rubbed raw" because of the belly chain, the suit states.

Darbyshire also claims her lips were cracked, blistered and swollen because of dehydration by the time she arrived in Steamboat Springs. The woman claims she was given water once and a soda once or twice daily, the suit states.

She also claims bathroom stops were kept to once every 10 to 12 hours.

Darbyshire claims during one of these bathroom stops, she was assaulted by one of the drivers.

Darbyshire said the man forced her to lie down in a restroom at a rest stop near Trinidad, the suit states.

During the assault, the man allegedly pinned her right hand to the floor by stepping on it, the suit states. Darbyshire claims nerves in her hand have been damaged, the suit states.

The woman also claims the man threatened he would shoot her if she screamed or tried to escape, the suit states.

Once in Commerce City, Darbyshire alerted management about the conditions and the assault but claims the company did not take action, the suit states.

Darbyshire was loaded back into the van and the man drove to Steamboat Springs, the suit shows.

Once at the Routt County Jail, Darbyshire took two showers because "she felt filthy," the suit states.

Warner said charges were never filed because Darbyshire could not show authorities where the sexual assault took place and there was no physical evidence.

"She said she could show us where this happened, so we took her," Warner said. "But she never could show us."

Darbyshire is seeking a jury trial and claims she is entitled to compensatory and punitive damages to be determined, the suit states.

Darbyshire is also wanted in Texas and New Mexico. She allegedly stole a vehicle in Amarillo, Texas, and allegedly forged checks belonging to a Taos artist, records show.

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