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The Red Onion Riddle: Allegations of Systemic Medical Torture in Virginia's Max-Security Prison


Written by: Michael Phillips


In a bizarre and serious case unfolding in the Virginia prison system, inmate Benjamin Carter has filed a federal lawsuit against corrections officer Major Christopher King and unnamed parties referred to as John Doe(s) for medical neglect and retaliation.


The complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Western District Of Virginia under case number 7:23-cv-00425, accuses King and other prison staff of deliberately withholding prescribed medical treatment and endangering Carter's health.


The lawsuit asserts that Carter was placed in solitary confinement at Red Onion State Prison (ROSP) on April 17, 2023, as alleged retaliation for a previous lawsuit he filed in 2020. In the days following his confinement, Carter claims he began experiencing severe pain and swelling in his testicles. Despite submitting several written requests and verbal complaints to the medical staff at the prison, Carter claims he did not receive a response or treatment.

He alleges that prison officials, following instructions from King, denied him a jockstrap prescribed by Dr. Foxx, a physician at the prison, intended to alleviate the irritation caused by his diagnosed "Hydrocelle" - a condition characterized by swelling in the scrotum due to fluid accumulation.


Carter claims that King's denial of his medical treatment was in retaliation for a prior lawsuit, identified as Civil Action No. id. in the complaint, where Carter had accused King of assault.

The situation reportedly escalated when on May 22, 2023, King allegedly refused to approve the jockstrap, causing Carter's condition to worsen. Carter maintains that this deliberate neglect caused his condition to reach a stage where surgery is now necessary to remove the hydrocele. The lawsuit alleges that prison staff, instructed by King, have not made a referral for Carter to see a urologist for the necessary surgical treatment.


Carter's lawsuit cites both retaliation and deliberate indifference to his medical needs as violations of his First Amendment and Eighth Amendment rights, respectively. The lawsuit seeks a range of remedies, including a preliminary and permanent injunction ordering King to arrange for Carter to see a urologist, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.


The Virginia Department of Corrections has not responded to the allegations as of the time of reporting.


Due to the serious and complex nature of the allegations, this case could potentially lead to further investigations into the conditions within the Virginia Department of Corrections and how prisoners' medical needs are addressed.


This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

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