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Sexually Abused Female Prisoners Must Pay Debts

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) - The Michigan Court of Appeals says women who were sexually abused in state prisons must pay the victim restitution and child support they owe before collecting settlement money from their class-action suit.

A three-judge appeals court panel ruled Wednesday that an order protecting the names of the women who sued should remain in effect.

But the court also ruled that where there’s a conflict between protecting the women’s identities and making sure that they pay victim restitution and child support, the courts must make sure the debts get paid.

The 800 women shared in a $100 million lawsuit settlement stemming from sexual misconduct that they say happened inside prisons between March 1993 and July 2009. The suit was settled in 2009.

An attorney who negotiated the settlement, Deborah LaBelle, said last year she believes only 25 women owe money, including 13 in Oakland County.

“The majority of people have long ago paid off their restitution,” she said.

Labelle represented women who said they were raped, groped or peeked at by male prison guards.

MORE: Ex-Inmates Lose Ruling Over Cash From Abuse Case

Court Won’t Intervene In $100M Deal With Prisoners

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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