What is sexual violence?
A woman who alleges a former Belleville police officer forced her to commit a sex act on him last year has filed a federal lawsuit asking for $55 million in damages.
The former police officer, Police Chief Bill Clay and the city of Belleville are named as defendants in the lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis.
Clay did not have an immediate response but said he expects to release a statement later in response to the lawsuit.
The woman who filed the lawsuit is listed as plaintiff “S.T.” and is represented by attorney Reginald Greene of Atlanta.
“This incident is a terrible tragedy,” Greene said Thursday. “She needed help from the police but she became a victim of the police. We intend to pursue this matter vigorously and hold everyone accountable so that something like this never happens again.”
The accused officer, who resigned in October after being placed on paid administrative leave, was not charged with a criminal offense in the case. The BND is not identifying him because he has not been charged.
The Illinois State Police investigated the allegation and turned over the case to the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office, which did not seek charges because of “insufficient evidence,” according to Assistant State’s Attorney Chris Allen, the spokesman for the prosecutor’s office.
The lawsuit alleges that Belleville officers responded to a complaint about the woman loitering at a convenience store on June 30, 2018. The woman told police her cellphone was dead and she was unable to call someone to take her to a bus station.
The officer named in the complaint “insisted that he drive plaintiff to a bus station,” according to the lawsuit. The woman got into the back seat of his police car and he drove her to a secluded area, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit alleges the officer, who is white, ordered the woman, who is black, out of the car, and he called her the N-word. He then kissed her on her shoulder and forced the woman to commit a sex act on him, according to the lawsuit.
After that, the woman was put back into the police car, where she lost consciousness, the suit states.
The lawsuit said the woman woke up at the Fairview Heights MetroLink station “traumatized.” She alleges that the officer had taken her duffel bag containing personal items.
The woman was taken to Memorial Hospital in Belleville, where she was treated for sexual assault. Her medical bills totaled about $12,800, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit lists six counts: assault, battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of the Illinois Gender Violence Act and deprivation of the defendant’s civil rights.
Greene said he tried to talk to Belleville officials before he filed the lawsuit but he did not receive any response.
Clay said last year that he asked Illinois State Police to investigate the case because a new state law requires police departments to seek assistance from an outside agency when a sexual assault complaint involves a police officer.