(CN) – A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has refused to dismiss a lawsuit accusing a sheriff’s deputy of assaulting three people who allegedly witnessed him “engaging in simulated anal intercourse” with a Secret Service officer, who lay naked on the floor of an apartment building.
Siblings Grant and Jordyn G’Sell and Kristen Hulse were staying at the G’Sells’ mother’s apartment when they allegedly saw Secret Service Officer Michael Carven “naked, lying on the floor in the entrance of the elevator.”
They claimed Deputy Bryan Meuse “was straddling Officer Carven engaging in simulated anal intercourse.”
A few hours later, Carven allegedly tried to embrace Jordyn G’Sell in a hallway, but she rebuffed his advances. She claimed Carven shouted and swore at her, calling her a “lesbian” and a “dyke,” and “raised his fists as if to … punch her.”
Carven instead hit Hulse in the face, drawing blood, according to their complaint.
The trio said Meuse held the elevator doors open, grabbed Grant by the neck and pinned him to the elevator wall.
When the plaintiffs threatened to call police, Carven and Meuse laughed, telling them it was futile because “they were the police,” according to the lawsuit.
They accused the officers of assault, sexual assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment. They also sued the building’s owner and its management company on a premises liability claim.
The building defendants and Meuse asked U.S. District Judge John D. Bates to dismiss the claims against them. Specifically, Meuse challenged the claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment and civil rights violations.
Judge Bates threw out the premises liability claim and the emotional distress claim against Meuse, saying the act of witnessing simulated anal sex was not “so outrageous” that it was capable of causing “severe emotional distress.”
“What plaintiffs witnessed may have been inappropriate, indecent, and, given that one participant was naked, even obscene,” Bates wrote. “But the incident was, at base, merely juvenile behavior that was not directed at plaintiffs, and that plaintiffs were not obligated to watch.”
But the judge allowed the claims of false imprisonment and civil rights violations, though Meuse had argued that holding elevator doors open “occurs everyday in office buildings.”
“This argument is frivolous,” Bates wrote, given the context of people allegedly trying to use an elevator to flee an attack.
The judge also declined to dismiss the civil rights claim against Meuse, as it was unclear whether he had been acting privately or in his role as an officer when the alleged assault took place.
Meuse claimed he was only a jail guard for the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department, not anyone with authority to arrest or detain people.
Bates denied Meuse’s bid for dismissal on two of the three claims he appealed.