Alleged victim of sexual assault by former HCPD detective files federal suit

Alleged victim of sexual assault by former HCPD detective files federal suit

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A woman who filed a lawsuit last year accusing a former Horry County Police detective of sexual assault and misconduct has filed a separate federal lawsuit alleging her civil rights were violated by the police department and the county by actively concealing the detective's misconduct.

The woman, identified in court documents only as "Jane Doe 1" filed the suit in the United States District Court last Thursday, naming former HCPD Chief Saundra Rhodes, former Deputy Chief Scott Rutherford, former Lieutenant Chip Squires, former Captain Dale Buchanan, and Sergeant Thomas Delpercio as defendants.

Doe and her attorneys filed the first lawsuit against the HCPD and Horry County one year ago in the Horry County Court of Common Pleas. That complaint states she called Horry County Police on December 25, 2013 to report a sexual assault by an unknown assailant. She alleges the Det. Large insisted on meeting her at her own home the following month.

The complaint, filed by Evans Moore, LLC out of Georgetown, goes on to allege Large sexually assaulted Doe. "Over the course of the next six months, Detective engaged in a course of coercive behavior, unwanted sexual advances, and sexual assault," the suit alleges. "On at least one occasion, the Plaintiff was sexually assaulted by Detective within a police vehicle issued by the Horry County Police Department."

The suit goes on to claim "The Plaintiff was unable to resist the unwanted sexual advances out of fear of retribution."

Doe also believes the detective "had inappropriately touched and/or sexually abused additional women in connection with his employment as an investigator with the Horry County Police Department."

Since the initial suit was filed in December, several other women have filed suits against the HCPD through the Evans Moore law firm, making similar allegations, as well as claims that Large coerced them into participating in nude "catfights" on camera in North Carolina for money.

Large has been the subject of WMBF News investigations since March, and he was fired from his job as an Horry County Police detective in 2015 after an internal department investigation into sexual harassment allegations. Large is named in or involved in five different lawsuits against Horry County Police.

The 2015 lawsuit filed by Doe alleges that the department failed to properly train, hire, evaluate, and supervise the detective. The county has since filed an answer to that complaint, denying any involvement.

This most recent federal suit alleges that the HCPD, and specifically the five defendants listed, violated Doe's constitutional rights, including: "her right to due process, her liberty interest, and her right to be free of unjustified intrusions on personal security as protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, Plaintiff alleges Defendants authorized Detective Large's actions by consciously and intentionally failing to act or intervene."

The suit also states that "despite Defendants knowledge of a continuing, widespread, and persistent pattern of unconstitutional misconduct by its officers, Defendants failed and/or refused to take any action whatsoever, including but not limited to implementation of a policy and procedure addressing sexual misconduct; implementation of training regarding behaviors prohibited by law enforcement when investigating crimes against women; and/or implementation of a victim's advocate program." As a result, the suit alleges that the defendants violated Doe's Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Attorney Scott Evans, with the Evans Moore law firm, is representing Jane Doe 1. He said this suit came back up because the initial one filed a year ago did not include federal complaints. This most recent lawsuit states the woman's constitutional rights were violated.

When previously asked for comment, Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier stated: "It is County policy not to provide any commentary on substantive matters relating to pending litigation

Horry County spokesman Lt. Raul Denis has also said previously that the department cannot comment due to pending legislation.

View the federal lawsuit document below:

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