Woman Says Cop Made Her a Victim Again

     PITTSBURGH (CN) – A Pennsylvania police officer took “inappropriate, gratuitous” photographs on his cellphone of the victim of a sexual assault, she claims in Federal Court.
     Though the June 26 lawsuit identifies both the plaintiff and the Coraopolis police officer she says subjected her to the invasive search, Courthouse News has redacted these names in light of the sensitive nature of the allegations.
     The plaintiff says she was 20 years old at the time of the incident.
     She allegedly took herself to the hospital for a rape kit after blacking out on June 27, 2013, possibly because of a date-rape drug, and waking up “in the street wearing nothing but a size 4x T shirt which did not belong to her, bikini bottoms, shorts, and bare feet.”
     A Coraopolis police officer at the hospital where the plaintiff was examined and photographed directed the woman to report to the police station the next day, according to the complaint.
     The plaintiff says this roughly 40-year-old officer was “on duty and in full uniform” when she arrived at the station.
     After taking her to an investigation room, the officer began questioning the woman about the incident and taking photographs of her with his personal cellphone, according to the complaint.
     Waving off questions about his actions, Barger allegedly said that the police department camera was broken.
     The plaintiff says she was intimidated by and was uncomfortable with the officer inquiring about bruising on her breasts but felt obligated to submit to his requests.
     Though the plaintiff allegedly told the officer repeatedly that there were no marks on or near her breasts, the officer pulled on her shirt to make her show him, she says.
     Likewise the plaintiff said there were no “marks or bruising in her vagina area,” and the rape kit documented this as well, according to the complaint.
     She says the officer nevertheless insisted on photographing her vaginal area and her rear end.
     Though the plaintiff allegedly pulled her shorts only halfway down her rear end, she says the officer touched her rear end with his finger and then pulled her “shorts away from her body to enable himself to see and take photographs of the Plaintiff’s entire rear end.”
     The plaintiff says went home and told her mother about the ordeal, and that her mother reported what happened to the Allegheny County Police Department.
     Detectives eventually seized the officer’s phone after he denied having taken any pictures under initial questioning, according to the complaint.
     The plaintiff says imaging of the officer’s cellphone established that he “had, in fact, taken inappropriate, gratuitous photographs of [her] intimate areas.”
     Though the officer eventually admitted to having taken the pictures, the plaintiff says he wronged her further by failing to complete her investigation or turn it over to another entity to complete.
     The officer thus “not only victimized the plaintiff after she was potentially raped, he then abandoned the criminal investigation and did nothing to ensure that it was taken over by another agency/entity, which has led to the possible crime never being solved,” the complaint states.
     There is no mention in the complaint of whether the officer was reprimanded in connection to the plaintiff’s case.
     Representatives for the Coraopolis and Allegheny police departments have not returned requests for comment. Only the officer is named as a defendant.
     The plaintiff seeks punitive damages for the invasion of bodily integrity in violation of due process under the 14th Amendment. She is represented by Noah Geary who likewise has not answered a request for comment.

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