MILWAUKEE (AP) – A woman who was raped three years ago by a Milwaukee police officer responding to a 911 call she made has filed a lawsuit against him, the city, police department and police chief.
In her lawsuit, the woman accuses the imprisoned former officer, Ladmarald Cates, of violating her civil rights and leaving her with emotional distress by attacking her in July 2010. She also accuses police officials and the city of failing to properly discipline Cates for previous violations, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Cates, who was fired later in 2010, was convicted last year in federal court of violating the victim’s civil rights by sexually assaulting her in the role of a police officer, and was sentenced to 24 years in prison. He testified that the sex was consensual.
The woman, who was 19 when the attack occurred, testified that Cates raped her in her bathroom after she called police about neighbors throwing rocks through her windows. After the assault she was arrested. She told other police officers on the scene and at the station that she had been raped, but they didn’t believe her.
After about 11 hours, officers took her to a hospital where a nurse found physical evidence she had been sexually assaulted and strangled, the lawsuit says. After leaving the hospital she was taken back to jail and detained for several days. She was never charged with a crime.
Because of the assault and its aftermath, the woman “has suffered and continues to suffer great pain of mind and body, shock, emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation and loss of enjoyment of life,” the suit says.
The suit also accuses police Chief Edward Flynn, the city and the police department of violating the woman’s civil rights of alleged deficiencies in how they dealt with Cates both before and after the attack.
“Defendant Flynn was deliberately indifferent to the safety of the public, including the Plaintiff, by failing to remedy the dangerous threat Cates posed, even though he had notice of that threat,” the suit said.
Cates was fired in 2010 for lying and for “idling and loafing,” because having sex on duty is against department rules.
Police spokesman Mark Stanmeyer said he couldn’t comment. A message left for Milwaukee City Attorney Grant Langley on Friday wasn’t immediately returned.
Cates had been accused of breaking the law on five earlier occasions. Three of the allegations involved sexual misconduct, twice with female prisoners and once with a 16-year-old girl. The alleged incidents dated back to 2000, three years after he was hired.
In two cases, internal police investigators referred Cates to the district attorney’s office for possible charges. One was a domestic-violence incident in which Cates’ then-girlfriend said he pushed and choked her.
Had he been charged and convicted in that attack, Cates would have been barred from carrying a gun, resulting in his removal from the force. Instead, prosecutors offered him a diversion agreement that allowed him to avoid charges by refraining from illegal acts, avoiding violent contact with the victim and undergoing counseling.
Police also referred Cates to the prosecutor’s office on allegations of having sex with the 16-year-old in 2007. He wasn’t charged.
The actions of police and the city show that such behavior was tolerated, the suit alleges.
Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com