Former Huntington Detective, City, Supervisors Sued for Civil Rights Violations, Sexual Abuse

Updated 38 weeks ago by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor
Huntington Federal Courthouse
Huntington Federal Courthouse

A former Huntington police detective has been sued in federal court along with the city and supervisors for civil rights violations including sexual abuse. The complaint alleges too that the city has failed to supervise officers.

The complaint states that on March 14, 2015 the on-duty patrol officer allegedly  made a false arrest of two women then forcefully sexually assaulted them while handcuffed in a police cruiser at various Huntington locations.

Since the officer had been named in a prior wrongful death suit (Earle v. City of Huntington) regarding the death on Jan. 11, 2014 of an elderly woman at St. Mary's Hospital, the city and "John Doe" supervisory officers have been cited for alleged negligence and failure to properly train. He has not been criminally charged in either case.

Editor's Note: A criminal burden of proof is substantially higher ("beyond a reasonable doubt") than in a civil case ( "preponderance of the evidence").

At the time of the filing , a motion has been entered to seal the case. Due to the sensitive nature the two women are identified by A.E. and E.W.  Specifically, the complaint alleges violations of: 

42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Governmental Tort Claims and  Insurance Reform Act, W.Va. Code § 29-12A-1, et seq., and the common law of West Virginia, for declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief against all Defendants for the  unlawful and unconstitutional treatment of Plaintiffs.

The complaint asks for injunctive relief for the city's alleged failure to properly train by ordering they :

" promulgate and implement  policies and procedures to prevent such deprivations of constitutional rights in the future, and requiring Defendant City of Huntington to train HPD  officers regarding receiving, investigating..."

Representing the plaintiffs, attorney Tim Eves listed nearly 20 alleged instances of policies and procedures not followed, failure to exercise reasonable or slight care, and failure to follow standards by supervisors. Eves asserted that supervisors knew the officers had been the subject of prior investigations of excessive force, had prior disciplinary actions against him, and "was not qualified to safely investigate and/or meet with potential female victims." The complaint alleges that the officer had "unlawfully stopped, arrested, and physically assaulted others while on duty," including illegal search and seizure, unlawful restraint without due legal process, and invasive search without probable cause, and "offensive contact" of their persons.

Alleging that the officer had a "propensity for committing unlawful acts against women," the complaint continues:

"Nonetheless, Defendant City of Huntington negligently disregarded the obvious risks and allowed Detective N to operate an HPD patrol car and roam the streets of a college town near dorms and bars where this sexual predator could encounter intoxicated co-eds predominately during the overnight hours when witnesses were sparse , under the apparent authority of the Huntington Police Department where he had free reign to unlawfully stalk, stop, arrest, search and physically and sexually assault young females."

Responding to documents in the Earle case related to the sexual abuse, attorneys for the city  have stated that the incident occurred while the detective was OFF DUTY and working a part time job.

"It is generally alleged that this incident involved a non-consensual sexual contact by Officer N with two females," the city's response said. "However, and without disclosing the sordid details of this incident, it must be noted that Officer N possesses real and valid defenses to these allegations, including evidence of consent to any sexual interactions."

A copy of the full complaint may be downloaded as a PDF by clicking the attachment link at the end of the story.

Editor's Note: On March 16, 2017 Harry Quigley filed a civil rights complaint against HPD regarding a March 17, 2016 . The plaintiff is representing himself in this action.

According to allegations in the complaint, the officer had parked his cruiser outside the Stonewall, a bar in the 800 block of 7th Avenue, when the two Wayne County women entered the club. The officer allegedly shouted to them, "alcohol is always the answer."

Upon leaving the bar, the two women headed to McDonald's on Fifth Avenue. The officer followed them and allegedly told them they would not be arrested for DUI, if they pulled into the Captain D's lot across the street. In a pouring rain, the officer ordered the women to exit their vehicle and perform the macarena and the little tea pot dance.

After the dance, the officer allegedly handcuffed the two women , purposefully brushing against them, and stated: ""how does it feel to be completely and utterly
restrained?"

He ordered them in the front seat of his cruiser and drove around the city in a reckless manner and stopped at two isolated locations where he "fondled" the women, kissed, and placed one in the back seat and without consent removed a portion of her clothing.

Afterwards, the officer allegedly drove the two women back to their car and released them.


 

 

 

 

 

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