Five Women Say Officer Molested Them

     FRESNO, Calif. (CN) – A sheriff’s officer forced a woman to perform oral sex during a traffic stop and groped four other women’s breasts and vaginas, the five woman claim in two federal lawsuits.
     Former Tulare County Sheriff’s Officer William Nulick, who resigned after the initial accusations in 2013, faces criminal charges, including bribery, sexual battery, false imprisonment and forcible oral copulation.
     Alma M. claims in her lawsuit filed Thursday that Nulick pulled her over on Oct. 4, 2013, for a traffic violation. After learning that she did not have a driver’s license, Nulick told her she had a “big problem” and told her to step out of the car, she says.
     He groped her breasts, vagina and butt, she says, and asked her what she would do to keep him from towing her car and giving her a ticket.
     She told him she would thank him for his courtesy.
     “Defendant Nulick, in response, stated that he did not want a thank you, but instead wanted her to have sex with him,” the complaint states.
     Alma wept and said, “No,” but Nulick told her she had five minutes to decide, according to the complaint.
     Scared for her life, she followed Nulick to a secluded area in an orchard, where she refused his proposition to have vaginal sex, she says. “Nulick pulled out his erect penis from his pants and pushed plaintiff’s head down onto his penis, forcing her to perform oral sex. Defendant Nulick forced plaintiff to continue performing oral sex until he ejaculated in her mouth,” the complaint states.
     Alma says she cleaned herself with a Kleenex, which Nulick took to conceal the evidence. Alma reported it the next day and Nulick was arrested after video and GPS technology corroborated her information, the Sheriff’s Department said at the time.
     The Tulare Sheriff’s Department would not comment on the lawsuit Thursday, but Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said after Nulick was arrested that anyone “who abuses their position in law enforcement will be held accountable.”
     “One person’s actions should not tarnish the good reputations of the hard-working men and women here at the sheriff’s department,” the sheriff said.
     Four other women sued Nulick, the county and the Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday. They claim Nulick abused his power to conduct “sexually motivated” pat-downs.
     Maria R. says she was a passenger in her boyfriend’s vehicle when Nulick pulled them over in August 2013. She had not been driving, but Nulick took her out of the vehicle and “demanded that she pull down her dress and bra exposing her breast, claiming he was looking to see if she was hiding weapons or drugs,” the complaint states.
     Nulick then sexually groped her breasts, buttocks and vagina, she says.
     Kari R. says Nulick came into her home after midnight in July 2013 to execute an arrest warrant for being under the influence. She was asleep naked in her bed but Nulick made her get up and dress while he watched, she says.
     The women say that sexually touching women during pat-downs is a “pattern and practice” in the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department’s “boy’s club.”
     “Plaintiffs contend these rogue officers, including Nulick, continue to protect their own through cover-up efforts and intimidation tactics that continue to the present as part of the ‘band of brotherhood,'” the four women’s complaint states.
     After sexually assaulting them, Nulick went to two women’s houses to threaten them into silence, they say. They say he also parked outside their homes on a regular basis and harassed and intimidated them from the street.
     The Sheriff’s Department’s silence was “nothing short of an intentional cover-up designed to prevent plaintiffs and other victims from feeling secure enough to come forward,” the complaint states.
     Brian Kabateck, who represents all five women, told Courthouse News that getting justice is the first and foremost concern.
     “But we are also secondarily taking a very hard look at the Sheriff’s Department to see exactly what is going on at this department. Nulick was there for three years and there are four complaining witnesses and at least two others that we know of who alleged sexual contact by him, so we have very serious concerns about the department,” Kabateck said.
     “We plan to look at it top to bottom to find out how this possibly could happen. At the best, you can say for them that they had an oversight and had no idea this was going on, or there is something really wrong here. We are going to get to the bottom of it and we are going to start fighting to make sure the public is aware of it,” he said.
     The women seek punitive damages for assault and battery, sexual battery, false imprisonment, negligence, civil rights violations and other charges.
     Kabateck is with Kabateck Brown Kellner in Los Angeles.
     Tulare County, south of Fresno, includes part of Sequoia National Forest. Its seat is Visalia.

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