State Trooper Can't Dodge Sex Assault Claim
(CN) - A Pennsylvania state trooper cannot dismiss claims that he sexually assaulted a woman facing criminal charges by luring her to a cemetery after a dismissal hearing, a federal judge ruled.
After State Trooper Stephen Kleeman charged Faith Kintzel with summary harassment on April 7, 2010, she sued him in Federal Court.
They agreed at a hearing in June 2010 that the charges would be dismissed if Kintzel complied with conditions for 60 days, Kintzel's complaint states.
Kintzel claims she turned Kleeman down when he asked if she wanted to have coffee with him sometime after the hearing, but eventually agreed to accompany him to a cemetery where they could talk alone, fearing that the dismissal deal she had worked out would fall through if she refused.
Kintzel claims she followed Kleeman's his patrol car to a cemetery, where he commented about her being clothed, which she took as an order to undress.
As Kintzel sat undressed in her car pressing her legs together, Kintzel pushed them apart, bruising her thighs and knees, and ordered her to lie down, according to the complaint. Kleeman then had sexual intercourse with her against her will and told her to stay at the cemetery for a while after he left, according to the complaint.
Kintzel sued for false arrest, false imprisonment, excessive use of force, violation of due process, sexual assault and battery, and loss of consortium with her husband.
Kleeman sought dismissal, but U.S. District Judge James Munley, in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, dismissed only Kintzel's false arrest and loss of consortium claims.
"The complaint alleges that the defendant, who was in his Pennsylvania State Trooper uniform, including a badge and handgun, told plaintiff to follow him in her car to a remote area," Munley wrote. "Defendant argues that plaintiff always had a safe means of escape. This assertion, however, is an argument regarding the facts. According to the plaintiff, defendant confined her and sexually assaulted her. Defendant argues that plaintiff could have left at any time. It is too early in the proceedings to make factual determinations as to what actually occurred. We must accept as true that defendant confined plaintiff. Accordingly, plaintiff's state law false imprisonment claim will not be dismissed."
Kintzel's claims against Kleeman in his individual capacity for excessive force, substantive due process, and sexual assault and battery also survived.
"[W]ith respect to the sexual assault and battery claim, we accept as true that defendant directed plaintiff to a secluded area where he engaged in unwanted sexual contact with the plaintiff although the plaintiff physically demonstrated that she did not seek such contact," Munley wrote. "The case is not at the proper procedural posture to argue the facts of the case. The motion to dismiss Count V of the complaint will be denied."