A Transgender Muslim Inmate Serving 55 Years for Killing Baby Files $150,000 Lawsuit for Not Being Allowed to Wear Hijab

A transgender inmate, sentenced to 55 years for the death of her 11-month-old stepdaughter, has filed a civil lawsuit against the prison chaplain. She claims the chaplain forbade her from wearing a hijab outside her immediate bed area, despite her identification as Muslim.

Autumn Cordellionè, also known as Jonathan C. Richardson, is currently serving her sentence at the Branchville Correctional Facility, a state prison for men operated by the Indiana Department of Correction.

According to a lawsuit filed on November 30 and obtained by Fox News Digital, Cordellionè was reportedly informed by a prison chaplain that wearing the hijab outside her immediate sleeping area was not permitted.

Cordellionè is seeking $150,000 in damages and the right to wear the hijab “anywhere I go within the facility.”

“I informed him that I wear the hajib [sic] in order to cover my head and ears for modesty purposes, as I am an Islamic practicing transwoman,” Cordellionè said in the lawsuit.

The chaplain then reportedly told Richardson that his listed religious preference is “Wiccan,” a pagan Earth-centered religion with a male god and moon goddess, “and I responded that I am an eclectic practitioner who is a member of the Theosophical Society in America” Cordellionè claimed in the complaint.

“I practice a diversity of faiths in order to custom tailor my spiritual beliefs to my spiritual needs,” Cordellionè said in the lawsuit.

Cordellionè claimed that the chaplain’s alleged refusal to allow him to wear the hijab violated his 14th Amendment rights, specifically the equal protection clause.

“Male Islamic practitioners are allowed to wear their kufis across the facility, and are not restricted to their bed areas only,” the complaint stated.

She further alleged the chaplain violated her Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment and claimed he was subject to “harassment and ridicule” by other Muslim prisoners.

“He should be aware, as Chaplain, the stigma and shame that is attributed to Islamic women when they go uncovered and without a hijab [sic],” Cordellionè wrote in the complaint. “Women are viewed as whores, tempters of men, and adulterators; by Islamic society both in and out of prison. I have been shunned, made a social pariah, and amongst my own religious community.”

Fox News Digital contacted the Indiana Department of Corrections for a comment from the chaplain, but the facility stated that they do not provide comments on ongoing legal matters. Attempts to reach the chaplain were also unsuccessful.

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By Hunter Fielding
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