Police, city face lawsuit

October 09, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A $1 million lawsuit was filed against two former members of the Charles Town Police Department and the city by a woman who alleges that one of the officers forced her to perform oral sex following a 1996 traffic stop.

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Mary Elizabeth Boyd of Ranson, W.Va., alleges that former city police officer Paul C. Johnson told her that if she had sex with him or performed oral sex on him she would not go to jail, according a suit filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court.

Boyd's allegation follows a criminal complaint filed by West Virginia State Police, which alleges an officer told a woman that she would have to perform a sex act with him to avoid going to jail or losing custody of her children.

Johnson is facing a charge of second-degree sexual assault in Circuit Court in that case, court officials said.


The incident occurred following a traffic stop on Oct. 6, 1996, of a vehicle in which Boyd was a passenger, the suit alleges.

Boyd alleges in the suit that Johnson "inflicted severe emotional distress" on her, and claimed the city failed to have a formal procedure for investigating allegations of misconduct of officers.

The suit also alleges that the city:

  • Failed to have a formal procedure for imposing discipline on its officers.
  • Failed to have regular performance reviews of officers.
  • Allowed an environment of favoritism and inconsistent discipline to exist in the police department.
  • Let officers "set their own agendas."
  • Failed to correct obsolete and confusing orders.
  • Failed to enforce department policies.

Also named in the suit is former city police officer Joseph Forman, who made the traffic stop, the suit alleges. Forman later left the area with the driver of the car, the suit alleges.

Johnson arrived in his police car and began questioning Boyd, the suit says.

The suit alleges that Forman demonstrated a reckless disregard for Boyd's safety by violating the department's policy regarding the transport of females by male officers without another officer present.

Boyd said she was told to get in the front seat of Johnson's cruiser after the traffic stop on West Washington Street, according to the suit and previous testimony.

Johnson searched the car and found a can which he claimed had crack residue on it, the suit alleges. Johnson said he could send Boyd to jail for giving a false name to police, but that she could avoid incarceration if she had sex with him, according to allegations contained in the suit.

Boyd refused, according to the suit.

Johnson later grabbed Boyd by the head and forced her to perform oral sex, the suit alleges.

Mayor Randolph Hilton declined to comment on the suit.

Police Chief Mike Aldridge, who was not with the department at the time, said a system of evaluating officer performance has been implemented.

Aldridge said allegations that the department did not have a procedure for investigating officers and imposing discipline on officers are not true.

Johnson, of 300 W. Martin St., Martinsburg, W.Va., could not be reached for comment.

Forman, who is now employed by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, also could not be reached.

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