PHILADELPHIA (CN) - A police officer in a Philadelphia suburb arrested a woman and threw her in jail for the sole purpose of strip searching and sexually assaulting her, the woman claims in court.
Vanessa Onuffer sued Darby Township, its former police Officer Kevin Walker, and former Police Chief Robert Thompson in Federal Court.
Darby Township, pop. 10,500, is immediately southwest of Philadelphia.
Onuffer claims she was not formally charged with any crimes after Walker arrested her in 2010, and that "Walker's inappropriate and illegal conduct did not cease until the summer of 2011, when plaintiff, suffering from, inter alia, post traumatic stress disorder ... finally was able, along with other victims, to report defendant Walker's conduct and defendant Walker was arrested and charged by the Delaware County District Attorney's Office with various counts of official oppression."
Onuffer claims that Walker made at least five unsolicited visits to her home in the summer of 2010, and that "on multiple occasions, Defendant Walker would invite plaintiff to the police station where he could 'give her a nice rub down.'"
Onuffer says in the lawsuit that she rejected the advances from Walker, who eventually "directed a fellow Darby Township police officer to take plaintiff into custody, while she walked on the bridge between Darby Township and Sharon Hill on Sharon Avenue."
"Plaintiff was handcuffed, placed in a Darby Township vehicle, was transported to the Darby Township Police Department and placed in a jail cell.
"At the Darby Township Police Department, plaintiff was made to empty her pockets and to shake out her bra, she was told the purpose was to show that she did not have drugs.
"Plaintiff was advised that a female officer was going to perform a more thorough search of her person.
"No female officer ever conducted a search of plaintiff's person or even addressed plaintiff," the complaint states.
Shortly thereafter, Onuffer claims, everyone but Walker left the police station. She claims that he "entered the jail cell in which plaintiff was being held and made plaintiff move from the view of security cameras."
The lawsuit continues: "Defendant Walker then removed plaintiff from the jail cell in which she was originally placed and took her against her will and illegally to the women's locker room.
"Defendant Walker then said to plaintiff, 'Well, it would have been a lot easier if you had just come over to the station, so I could give you a massage.'
"Defendant Walker then made plaintiff describe in words how she would perform oral sex on him, while he stood in front of her with his leg up on a bench, directly in front of plaintiff.
"Defendant Walker then told plaintiff to 'prove that you have nothing in your vagina.' Plaintiff at the time was wearing a T-shirt, bra, shorts and underwear, which defendant Walker made plaintiff remove.
"As plaintiff sat on a bench, without any clothing on her person, defendant Walker ordered plaintiff to spread her vagina lips, so that defendant Walker could observe plaintiff's naked person under the guise of a legitimate police investigation for narcotics.
"At the time that plaintiff had spread her vagina lips, defendant Walker moved his nose within approximately a foot of plaintiff's vagina.
"Defendant Walker then order plaintiff to insert her finger in her vagina, with her legs spread open, which she did, so that defendant Walker could watch.
"Defendant Walker watched plaintiff insert her finger into her vagina and ordered plaintiff to inspect her vagina by moving her finger in and around the walls of her vagina.
"Defendant Walker ordered plaintiff to get dressed and released her from the Darby Township Police Department, making plaintiff promise prior thereto that plaintiff would not report him for his actions, saying, 'I don't want to see any paperwork against me in the morning.'"
Walker, who also served as an elected constable in Chester, Penn., is serving a prison sentence after pleading guilty to sexual assault charges filed by three other women, according to an April article on the Philadelphia Inquirer website Philly.com.
Onuffer seeks compensatory and punitive damages for civil rights violations, negligent supervision, assault, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
She is represented by Joseph Silvestro, with Mutzel, Wesner and Silvestro in Media, Pa.
Darby Township is about 66 percent white and 32 percent African-American, and its median income and home prices are around the statewide average, according to city-data.com.
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