The Charleston Gazette published an article today entitled, “Woman alleges trooper forced sex.” This is an odd case. Something just isn’t right. The allegation is that this woman was leaving a bar in downtown Charleston and was pulled over by this trooper for suspicion of DUI. During the course of the DUI stop there was some conversation between the two and the trooper ended up following her home to her married friends house. There she alleges that he pressured her to have sex and that she only complied because he was a state trooper.
The really surprising part is that this was at least partially caught on a surveillance camera by the married couple who lived in the home.
If I’m wearing my police liability hat, this sounds like a good case with rare video tape evidence of police misconduct and a potential rape situation. But when I put on my criminal defense hat, this seems extremely suspicious. The central question that I want answered is, who, what, where, why and how was this surveillance footage captured? Could this be a set-up? Did she call ahead? If so, why not just call 911?
With respect to a police liability civil case, there’s really no excuse for the trooper to have been in this house. He most likely will have to explain that he went there consensually with her, which may not be illegal, but may get him fired and may get the State sued. But from a criminal case standpoint, this woman’s story is extremely fishy. It will be interesting to find out what the deal is with this video.
– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney