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Rapists in uniform #3: a sixth woman comes forward

(Via Google News.)

Another woman in northern Ohio has come forward about an unnecessary and sexually humiliating strip search by the Stark County sheriff’s office. She is the sixth woman who has come forward about the Stark County sheriff’s office in the past four months. Like four other women, she came forward after learning about Hope Steffey’s gang-rape search at the hands of male and female deputies, and her lawsuit against the sheriff’s office. Elizabeth is afraid for her own safety and the safety of her family, so she has chosen not to use her last name or reveal her face in press interviews. She says that she never gave any indication of being suicidal, believes that she was stripped and left naked in her cell as retaliation for physically defending herself against a deputy who had laid his hand on her hip and made sexual jokes at her expense.

STARK COUNTY — A Stark County woman told Channel 3 News Investigator Tom Meyer that she was told to remove all her clothes inside the Stark County Jail after deputies made several off-color remarks.

Elizabeth fears reprisals for speaking out so she prefers we not use her last name.

She says a Stark County Sheriff’s deputy pulled her over one night for failing to signal during a lane change. Elizabeth says she had to undergo a field sobriety test. According to the officer’s incident report, she failed some aspects of the test. She was arrested for driving under the influence and taken to the station for further testing.

She was told to blow into a breathylyzer, but she suffers from asthma. When she failed to produce enough air, she says a deputy told her, Baby we both know you can blow harder than that. She says a second deputy laughed. The officer marked her as a refusal for not blowing harder.

Elizabeth decided to tell her story when she saw video of Hope Steffey strip searched by both male and female deputies. Steffey was left naked in a cell for 6 hours.

When Elizabeth was told to remove all her clothes, she did so voluntarily saying she worked at a medium security prison in Ohio and knew her clothes would be forcibly removed if she failed to obey.

The incident report says Elizabeth wanted to commit suicide. But she says that’s just not true. I’ve never been suicidal. I’m not suicidal. I was terrified, she told the Investigator. The Sheriff’s office said medical personnel decide if an inmate should be placed on suicide watch, not sheriff deputies.

Elizabeth was charged with drinking and driving, and assault for kicking a deputy. She decided to defend herself when a deputy placed his hands on her hips. She explained that she had been the victim of a sexual assault while employed at the prison.

The assault charge in the Stark County case was dropped on the condition she plead guilty to operating a vehicle while intoxicated. She reluctantly took the deal.

— Tom Meyer, WKYC News (2008-05-02): Investigator Exclusive: Strip search case prompts 5th woman to come forward

According to the local news video about Elizabeth (trigger warning: contains video of Hope Steffey being forcibly strip searched by male officers), Elizabeth was left locked in her cell, completely naked, for eight hours.

Lawyer David Malik says we're seeing a pattern where apparently every woman who cries or gets emotional is deemed suicidal.

Tom Meyer, WKYC 3 News (2008-02-29/2008-03-06): Strip Search: Four more women come forward with similar stories

And remember, if you are deemed suicidal, government cops and government jailers will take it for granted that the best way for armed Trained Professionals to handle the situation is to hurt you, hold you down, strip you against your will, subject you to an invasive search, and lock you in a cage and leave you there, naked, for six or eight hours at a stretch.

There is absolutely no conceivable excuse for treating anyone this way, ever. Whether man or woman, calm or belligerent, nice or nasty, crazy or sane. This is gang rape, professionalized and excused by Official Procedures. What is becoming clear is that Sheriff Tim Swanson and his goon squad not only have convinced themselves that this kind of brutality is sometimes acceptable, but also that they have an especially broad understanding of the sort of situation that calls for it, and that they are especially willing to use it as a form of humiliating retaliation, in order to teach uppity or unruly women a lesson, under color of the law. And then, to crown all, to further insult the victim by proclaiming that they did it all For Her Own Good. The Stark County sherriff’s office are nothing more and nothing less than a pack of dangerous sexual predators, and their uniforms and badges don't make them any better than any other gang of serial rapists.

More on the Stark County, Ohio sheriff’s department and Hope Steffey:

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