HOUSTON (CN) – A 43-year-old Houston woman claims she was falsely arrested for flying to Canada to visit her 16-year-old boyfriend. Lauri Price says she “took a short trip to Canada to visit with her 16-year-old boyfriend who had decided, of his own will and volition to leave home and be with [her].”
She filed a federal lawsuit against Lt. Matthew Gray and an unnamed officer who allegedly arrested her when her return flight landed in Houston.
She claims the officers did not inform her of the charges against her when they boarded her flight, arrested her, and confiscated her carry-on bags and computer.
“No crime was allegedly committed in Canada, as 16 was considered the age of consent,” the lawsuit states. In Texas, it is 17.
“Even though the family disapproved of the relationship, no charges were filed in Canada and [Price] was allowed to return to the United States,” Price claims.
She was indicted by a grand jury, and her trial was set for July 2. Before it began, however, prosecutors dropped all charges against her based on computer evidence that the Canadian teenager had lied to Price about his age, telling her he was 20, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Price, a mother of four, was fired from her job as a permanent substitute teacher for the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District after her arrest, the Chronicle reports.
Prosecutors had accused Price of engaging in an online sexual relationship with the boy, then 15, whom she met through the Internet video game “World of Warcraft.”
Price claims the officers “had no warrant” and “no legal cause or excuse” for her arrest, “other than sensationalized news reports of a 42-year-old mother who traveled to visit her 16-year-old Canadian friend, even though Canadian authorities did not arrest or charge (her) with any crime while she was in Canada.”
She says the officers violated her constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure, assault and battery, and false imprisonment.
Her attorney is John-Baptist Sekumade.