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Lawsuit Filed against City for Officer’s Alleged Sexual Misconduct

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Helena, MTA woman who worked as a confidential informant for the Missouri River Drug Task Force has filed a lawsuit against the City of Helena alleging professional sexual misconduct on the part of one of the city’s police officers. The unnamed plaintiff alleges that she was sexually assaulted multiple times by a police officer from May 2012 to October 2012. The lawsuit further alleges that the same police officer sexually exploited other victims as well.

According to KRTV (6/7/16), the plaintiff (referred to as SH) alleges the officer began grooming her for sexual exploitation through flirtatious text messages, which led to forced sexual acts. SH alleges she was threatened with jail time and the loss of her children if she did not comply, and that the officer became more abusive as time went on.

The officer reportedly was investigated for his conduct and no longer works for the police department. SH alleges the abuse resulted in permanent injuries and one suicide attempt.

The lawsuit claims the defendants failed to properly supervise their officer and violated SH’s rights to due process.

Meanwhile, the city of Los Angeles will pay $750,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who claims one of the city’s police officers sexually assaulted her while on duty. The officer and his partner have both been charged with sexually assaulting multiple women between 2008 and 2011. The officers have been placed on unpaid leave, according to the Los Angeles Times (4/20/16), but have not been fired, pending the criminal trial.

The city has already agreed to pay $575,000 to settle a different lawsuit filed by a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by the officers.

Professional sexual misconduct occurs when a person who is in a professional relationship or who has authority over another exploits that relationship or authority and engages in illegal or unethical sexual activity with that person. Depending on the relationship, the sexual activity could be considered misconduct, assault, harassment and/or malpractice. Sexual misconduct can cover activities across a spectrum, from harassment, to seemingly consensual sexual activity, to sexual assault.

Where sexual misconduct has occurred, victims can file lawsuits against those who have exploited them. They may also be able to file lawsuits against the accused’s employers if the employers knowingly or negligently allowed the exploitation to occur.

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