Cop Assault Victim Can't Nail NYC on Negligence
MANHATTAN (CN) - New York City is not liable for a "shocking sexual assault committed" by one of its police detectives, a federal judge ruled.
During a New York City Police Department drug investigation, Detective Oscar Sandino forced a suspect's girlfriend, L.C., to perform oral sex on him in the bathroom of the 110th precinct.
Sandino threatened L.C. with losing custody of her children if she did not become an informant, and he continued to proposition her until she wore a wire at the direction of the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau in 2008.
The detective admitted to assaulting her and engaging in "lewd sexual behavior" in front of another woman.
A federal judge in Brooklyn sentenced Sandino to consecutive one-year terms for both incidents last year.
Sandino may also have to pay civil damages from a lawsuit that L.C. filed in 2009, which also alleges negligence on the part of the former officer's colleagues and New York City.
Inadequate NYPD training put female informants at risk of sexual abuse by police officers, according to the complaint.
But city lawyers insist that the case represents a "single rogue police detective."
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein allowed the case against Sandino to move forward, but he ruled that L.C. had not proven the city's negligence.
"[L.C.] was the victim of a shocking sexual assault committed by a member of the New York City Police Department," Stein wrote. "That man is now serving a term in prison for his crimes. But shocking crimes alone cannot impute liability to the city of New York. Plaintiff has had ample opportunity to seek evidence to prove the existence of a municipal policy, custom, or usage, but her attorney has failed to develop a record sufficient to survive a motion for summary judgment. Because Castilla has failed to create a genuine issue as to any material fact, this court grants the city's motion."
L.C. has one month to seek summary judgment against Sandino, according to the 13-page order.