ST. LOUIS (CN) – A woman claims a New Melle police officer assaulted and sexually harassed her and filed bogus prostitution charges against her after she complained of his harassment to the police chief. Heather Swann claims Officer Terry Calahan – who has resigned – assaulted, intimidated and harassed her after she asked him to stop sending sexually explicit messages to her and a friend.
“Shortly after plaintiff requested defendant to stop sending sexually explicit text messages, defendant Calahan, while in uniform, went to plaintiff’s place of employment and held a police-issue Taser to the back of her head,” the federal complaint states.
Calahan then sent her at least 30 sexually explicit text messages, Swann says.
The complaint adds: “On September 7, 2009 defendant Calahan, while on duty and in his police cruiser and in uniform, went out of his jurisdiction and appeared at plaintiff’s home in O’Fallon, Missouri at which time he, without plaintiff’s permission or consent, physically climbed on top of her and tried to kiss her.”
Swann says she complained about Calahan to co-defendant Police Chief Aaron Burkemper on Sept. 11, and sought and received an order of protection against Calahan on Sept. 14.
But she says, “From September 11, 2009 to December 10, 2009 no action was taken by the City of New Melle or Aaron Burkemper to investigate or reprimand defendant Calahan regarding the September 11, 2009 complaint of sexual harassment.”
Instead, Swann says, Calahan fabricated prostitution charges against her.
“In October, 2009 plaintiff went to the police station in New Melle and met with defendant Burkemper,” the complaint states. “During this meeting Burkemper advised plaintiff that she was being investigated for prostitution. The charge of prostitution was based on an allegation by defendant Calahan that plaintiff had offered to have sexual relations with Ryan Boschert, a New Melle police officer whom plaintiff had dated, in exchange for which plaintiff would buy defendant a bulldog.”
Then, she says, Calahan then violated the order of protection by pulling her over on a pretext.
“Defendant Calahan followed plaintiff’s vehicle for two miles, identified plaintiff’s vehicle as hers, then activated his emergency lights and directed plaintiff to pull her vehicle over to the side of the road,” the complaint states. “When plaintiff refused to roll down the window due to fear, defendant Calahan stood beside her window for three minutes.
“In response to plaintiff’s 911 call, St. Charles County Sheriff’s department personnel arrived at the scene and administered field sobriety tests and a portable breathe test.
“Plaintiff passed the field sobriety checks and the portable breath test registered .000.
“Aaron Burkemper came to the scene described above in plain clothes and in his personal vehicle.
“The conduct of the defendants is so egregious and outrageous that it is shocking to the conscience and was done under the color of state law.”
Calahan resigned on Jan. 22, 2010, according to the complaint.
Swann claims New Melle ignored Calahan’s harassment of her and other women and ignored his previous history of sexual harassment.
Calahan pleaded guilty to sexual abuse in Pettis County in August 1993, the complaint states.
Swann seeks damages for mental anguish and trauma, illegal seizure and detention, sexual harassment, assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. She is represented by Shelly Dreyer with Hershewe Law in Joplin.