Former prosecutor sues NYC for alleged sexual assault by officer, rape by investigator
News
Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Former prosecutor sues NYC for alleged sexual assault by officer, rape by investigator

By Pamela Wolf, J.D.

After minimal progress on internal investigations, four months after she retained counsel the prosecutor was informed that the EEO investigation on the rape incident had been completed and her claim was substantiated.

An unnamed female former Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx has filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York alleging that she was sexually assaulted by a New York police officer in 2016 while at work. She purportedly complained about the incident repeatedly and to multiple supervisors to no avail, and eventually, seeing no apparent progress during the course of a year, "lost hope that her employer would take any remedial action against the officer," according to the complaint. Despite his arrest for Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol in the interim, the officer is still employed by the New York Police Department, the plaintiff said.

In a second incident, after attending a party with coworkers, the prosecutor was allegedly raped in her home by an investigator who was her colleague at the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. Recalling the earlier inaction by the DA’s office, she was purportedly reluctant to report this incident, but nonetheless did so within two weeks of the assault. She allegedly reported this rape to the chief of her unit as well as the Special Victims Unit. Again, due to the negligence and failure of the DA’s office to act, or even to respond to her inquiries about its investigation for many months, the prosecutor continued to report to work "while living in constant fear of encountering her assaulters," the complaint alleges.

Assault in office cubical. In an office cubicle, the prosecutor, who was wearing a dress, met with the arresting officer on a case she was handling. While sitting in her chair, the officer, seated in a chair next to her, allegedly moved his chair closer and closer until their chairs were touching, and put his hand on her inner thigh and slid it up and down, reaching about one or two inches away from her vagina. The prosecutor allegedly reported the assault immediately to colleagues and notified an ADA in the Public Integrity Bureau that the officer had assaulted her. She said that within the hour she had reported that assault to her supervisor, in accordance with the DA office’s sexual harassment protocols. She also allegedly reported it to her supervisor’s supervisor, a bureau chief.

Although the prosecutor was concerned about several upcoming meetings with the arresting officer that were scheduled in connection with trial, her expectation that alternative arrangements would be made to ensure her health and safety failed to materialize, according to the complaint. The chief allegedly just told her to attend the meeting and find a male prosecutor to escort her. The plaintiff contends that her complaint was not taken seriously, the arresting officer suffered no consequences for committing the assault, and the DA’s officer took no steps to address her complaint.

She later received information that the same officer had been suspended from active duty after his involvement in a domestic violence incident, which made her so uncomfortable that she informed the bureau chief that she would no longer work with him anymore. Only then, nearly 10 months later, did the DA’s Office reassign her cases with the officer, according to the complaint. However, the cases were assigned to her office mate, which did little to dispel her fear, anxiety, and discomfort in her work environment. According to the complaint, the officer who assaulted the prosecutor was "known to be ‘a bad cop."

Rape by investigator. The plaintiff further alleged that in August 2019, she attended a party with numerous colleagues at the DA’s Office, including a senior accountant investigator who followed her into a taxi without her consent went she left the party. During the ride to her home, the investigator allegedly became "vulgar and aggressive," and tried to place his hands on her face and to kiss her. The prosecutor purportedly tried to protest and fend him off, but he insisted, "It’s ok. You want it." He put his hands between her legs and penetrated her vagina with his fingers, according to the complaint.

When the cab arrived at the prosecutor’s home, the investigator allegedly told her he needed to walk her inside, and despite her protests and instructions to remain in the cab, followed her into her house. When she tried to run away, he allegedly "grabbed her keys from her hand and forced his way into her apartment," the complaint alleges. The plaintiff contends that in the morning, she woke up in her apartment, knowing she had been raped, with her body ‘"black and blue’ and her vaginal area was injured to the point where she could not sit down or urinate comfortably for weeks." A few days later, she allegedly recorded a conversation in which she confronted the investigator about the incident and he "apologized repeatedly for his behavior."

With memory of the handling of her earlier assault complaint in mind, the prosecutor was reluctant to report the rape but did so two weeks later. The complaint details the many ways in which the investigations of both incidents were bungled and inadequate. Among other things, she was told to take several days of administrative leave (against her will).

After counsel retained. In January 2020, legal counsel retained by the prosecutor contacted the DA’s office to advise them that he had been retained, according to the complaint. "Upon information and belief, Bronx DA immediately thereafter began contacting the witnesses they had failed to contact for the previous four months," the complaint alleges. "Four months after counsel’s appearance, on May 26, 2020, Plaintiff was informed via letter from EEO Officer Ricardo R. Granderson that the EEO investigation had been completed. Plaintiff’s claim was substantiated."

Claims. The former prosecutor raises claims under of gender discrimination under Title VII, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law; violence motivated by gender under the New York City Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Act; and a Monell claim under Section 1983. She also alleges claims for sexual assault and battery, rape, criminal sexual act, aggravated sexual abuse, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, negligence, and negligent retention.

The case is No. 1:20-cv-08429-ALC.

Attorneys: Julia Elmaleh-Sachs and Susan K. Crumiller (Crumiller P.C.) for Jane Doe.

Companies: City of New York

News: LitigationNewsTrends Discrimination SexualHarassment SexDiscrimination PublicEmployees GCNNews

Back to Top

Interested in submitting an article?

Submit your information to us today!

Learn More