A violent sex offender has been awarded more than $2.5 million in legal fees after suing the state for withholding “gender affirming care” while he was incarcerated for sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy.
Adree Edmo, formerly known as Mason Edmo, first launched a lawsuit against the state of Idaho and the state department of correction’s medical provider, Corizon Correctional Healthcare, in 2017 after being denied “gender” surgeries.
In the suit, Edmo had sought access to a legal name change, “gender appropriate” clothing, and “gender affirming” surgeries. Edmo, who was housed in a male prison at the time, also demanded a transfer to a women’s facility.
In 2018, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled that Edmo was at risk of “irreparable harm” without the surgery, and ordered the state to pay for it. The state appealed, with one of their lawyers noting that the medical professionals treating Edmo agreed that he did not qualify for the surgery due to his “uncontrolled mental health issues.” The state’s lawyer also said that Edmo had refused to participate in therapy to help prepare for the procedure.
The appeal was unsuccessful, and Edmo received his surgery and was subsequently transferred to women’s prison in 2020 to serve the remainder of his sentence. He was released in 2021.
On Monday, Judge Winmill awarded Edmo roughly $2.5 million in legal fees and court expenses. Edmo was represented in his case by seven different attorneys, including lawyers from the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Their fees must now be paid by Corizon Correctional Healthcare under a separate agreement with the state.
Judge Winmill lowered the attorney’s original request from $2.82 million to about $2.58 million but agreed to most of their requests, including $465 an hour for many of the lawyers.
Attorney Amy Whelan of the National Center for Lesbian Rights hailed the decision, stating: “Federal law requires defendants to pay the reasonable attorney fees and costs of a civil rights plaintiff that proves that [his] civil rights complaint has been violated.”
During the case proceedings, Edmo claimed he had been living as a woman prior to his incarceration, and that his gender dysphoria was severe. But in 2018, one of his past victims spoke to media and contested his narrative.
Brady Summers, who dated Edmo for two years, said that Edmo had not been living as a woman before going to prison and had always presented as a masculine gay man.
“Never once indicated anything of gender dysphoria,” Summers said, recounting his experience with Edmo, “He was a predator. He, on several occasions, had his way with me. It was brutal.”
Summers was subjected to continuous abuse by Edmo during their relationship, which had been the first Summers had ever been in after coming out.
“He would beat me on a constant basis. I had to keep my head low. I had to be careful what I said, careful what I did. And the final straw of me escaping was him beating me with a frying pan.”
Edmo did a stint in jail for the abuse, but attempted to reconcile with Summers once he was released. Not long after, Edmo sexually assaulted an underage boy at a house party. Edmo was charged with the sexual abuse of a child under the age of 16, and sentenced to 10 years in prison for the crime in 2012.
During his interview, Brady Summers objected to the possibility of taxpayers funding Edmo’s surgery.
“He’s getting a surgery, an elective surgery, that people have been waiting for all their life to have and it’s a mockery. It’s unjust,” Summers said. “It’s not right that we as taxpayers have to be involved with this. And he never once thought about his victims, our emotional sanity.”
In 2019, Idaho Governor Brad Little condemned Edmo’s effort to secure his surgery while incarcerated, penning a statement to media.
“The hardworking taxpayers of Idaho should not be forced to pay for a convicted sex offender’s gender reassignment surgery when it is contrary to the medical opinions of the treating physician and multiple mental health professionals.”
The 9th Circuit Court nonetheless ruled that, despite Edmo’s doctor and two other physicians agreeing to a treatment plan which did not include surgery, the “general agreement in a medically unacceptable form of treatment does not somehow make it reasonable.”
The Court also ruled that prison officials had violated the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment by refusing Edmo’s request for surgery.
Edmo is not currently required to register as a sex offender, and social media activity from after his 2021 release from prison mention traveling across the United States to multiple destinations including Nevada and California.
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