Two women, attacked by an escaped inmate in Lincoln, sue state

November 15, 2018

LINCOLN — A mother, brutally attacked along with her daughter by a Lincoln prison escapee in 2016, said she believed the convict “was going to rape her daughter and physically harm or kill both of them.”

Eventually, Cindi Allen and her then-21-year-old daughter, Christine, were able to get away from prison escapee Armon Dixon, but a psychologist says that both should get inpatient treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder from an assault that left them bloodied and shaken.

“It’s been a life-changing experience for both of them,” said their attorney, Terry Dougherty of Lincoln. “They don’t feel safe anymore.”

The Allens filed a lawsuit Friday against the state and six Nebraska corrections workers, seeking more than $500,000 in damages.

The lawsuit names State Corrections Director Scott Frakes and five unnamed prison workers, alleging that they failed to live up to the agency’s mission statement: “Keep people safe.”

A corrections spokeswoman said the agency’s policy is to not comment on pending litigation.

But a lawsuit was not a surprise in the wake of the June 10, 2016, escape by Dixon and fellow inmate Timothy Clausen, who slipped out of the Lincoln Correctional Center by hiding in laundry carts bound for another prison.

The men stole a van and drove into downtown Lincoln, where they eluded capture after crashing the vehicle.

The next morning, Dixon walked into Christine Allen’s northeast Lincoln apartment through a sliding glass door.

Dixon, who had been serving a lengthy prison sentence for a home invasion and rape, and a robbery and rape at a convenience store, immediately threatened to kill Christine Allen. When her 61-year-old mother tried to intervene, Dixon attacked her with a club. He then repeatedly beat the mother, promising to keep up the assault unless the daughter stopped screaming.

Dixon, according to the lawsuit, eventually turned his attention back to the daughter, draping her over a couch and attempting to tie her hands. The mother said she realized she had to escape. She ran out of the apartment and flagged down a young couple in the parking lot. Dixon was distracted by the mother’s dash, which allowed the daughter to crawl into a bathroom and lock the door.

Dixon fled and was captured later that day by Lincoln police in a storm sewer manhole.

After the escape, Frakes apologized, saying several lapses in security had allowed Dixon and inmate Timothy Clausen to escape.

“This should not have happened,” Frakes said at the time.

Six Lincoln Correctional Center employees, including senior management, were disciplined in connection with the escape.

The Allens first filed a claim with the state. Dougherty said he was disappointed that he got no response to the claim, which eventually expired, leading to the lawsuit. It was filed Friday in Lancaster County District Court.

The lawsuit asks for specific damages in excess of $513,000 to cover the treatment, medical bills and the loss of future earning power, and other unspecified general damages for pain and suffering.

Christine Allen, the lawsuit stated, was a recent community college graduate with a degree in early childhood education who was planning to continue her studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her career has been derailed by the assault, her attorney said.

Cindi Allen, according to the lawsuit, is a mother of seven children, a grandmother and an active participant in management of the family farm in Ogallala who frequently traveled abroad as part of gubernatorial trade missions to promote dry bean sales.

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