Woman sues LMPD officer who allegedly sexually abused her
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville woman has filed a lawsuit against Louisville Metro Police Officer Joe Burden, who was charged with two counts of official misconduct for allegedly detaining her while on duty and telling her to pull down her pants and expose herself during a routine call.
And the woman, whose attorney filed the suit in Jefferson Circuit Court Friday, is also suing Sgt. Jackie Smith, who as a member of the department's Public Integrity Unit set up a sting in which Burden was allegedly allowed to be "inappropriately touched" again, according to the suit.
"It literally set her up to be abused again," the woman's attorney, Kirsten Daniel, said of the sting. "It was very poor judgment by the police department in setting that up."
Dwight Mitchell, a spokesman for the police department, said he could not comment on pending litigation. He said Burden is on administrative duty. Claims made in filing a lawsuit present only one side of the case.
Attorney Steve Schroering, who is representing Burden in the criminal case, could not be immediately reached for comment. He has said Burden maintains his innocence. Burden will be back in court on Monday.
Last October 14, Burden allegedly falsely told the woman, who was a witness on a call for assistance to Cane Run Road, that there was a warrant for her arrest. According to the lawsuit and a criminal summons, Burden requested she take off her clothes after other police had left the scene, saying the other officers wanted her to go to jail but he would help her if she did what he said.
"She felt she had no choice but to comply because Burden said he had the authority to force her to do this and because he said he could arrest her if she failed to comply," according to the suit.
After allowing her to leave the scene, Burden began calling and harassing the woman, according to the lawsuit.
When the woman went to complain to the department's Public Integrity Unit, Sgt. Smith participated in a controlled call to Burden on Dec. 11 and then directed the woman to meet with the officer alone at Riverside Garden park, the lawsuit states.
At the park, Burden asked if he could "feel them," and put his hands underneath the victim's shirt and touched her breasts, according to the criminal summons. Officers of the unit then approached, according to the documents in the criminal case.
The lawsuit claims Smith and others within the department who devised the plan knew that subjecting the woman to "further unwanted illicit contact" with the woman would place her in physical and emotional danger and they had a duty to protect her.
"Sgt. Smith knew or should have known that Burden would commit sexual battery on" the woman when she directed her to meet the officer, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit is seeking a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages.
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