SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) – A woman exonerated after being falsely accused of posting “rape fantasy” posts on Craigslist has sued the city of Anaheim and her accusers on claims of false imprisonment.
Michelle Hadley filed the complaint against the city of Anaheim, Angela Diaz and Diaz’s husband Ian in Orange County Superior Court on Friday. The filing was not made available to the public until Monday.
According to the lawsuit, Angela Diaz made the false claims against Hadley to Anaheim police on June 1, 2016, claiming that Hadley had obtained her email through a social-media account. Angela Diaz said Hadley had sent her threatening messages and images of women being kidnapped and raped.
Between June and July of that year, Angela Diaz told the Anaheim police he was sexually assaulted because of “rape fantasy” ads that Hadley had posted on Craigslist.
Prosecutors charged Hadley and a judge set bail for $1 million.
She was jailed until Oct. 7, 2016, when she was released on her own recognizance after investigators realized that Angela Diaz had duped them and posed as Hadley when she wrote the posts, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors cleared Hadley and dismissed the charges in January.
“As important as the filing of charges against Ms. Diaz, is the dismissal of the previous complaint and full exoneration of Michelle Hadley,” District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in January. “This is a very detailed case. I wanted to make sure, however, that Ms. Hadley is cleared in every possible way – in the courtroom and in the court of public opinion. It should be clear in the media and in cyberspace. Ms. Hadley is an innocent victim of a diabolical scheme.”
County prosecutors have charged Angela Diaz with kidnapping, false imprisonment and falsely reporting crimes. They say Angela framed Hadley, who was the former fiancee of Angela’s husband Ian, a U.S. marshal. According to Hadley’s complaint, Ian accompanied Diaz to the police station and also made the false reports.
Hadley’s attorney Michael Guisti said he filed the lawsuit late Friday to make sure the complaint was timely under the statute of limitations but that a more detailed court filing would follow. He questioned why law enforcement had taken so long to figure out that Hadley was being set up.
“They just pretty much left her for dead. My review of the case is the police committed misconduct. They deprived her of her constitutional rights and they violated state law,” Guisti said.
He said he had information linking Angela to the Craigslist ads.
“There’s going to be a lot more to come on that,” Guisti said.
Hadley seeks general, special, punitive and exemplary damages.
Anaheim spokeswoman Lauren Gold said she couldn’t comment at this time.