EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 5, 2011

Ex cop's rape victim sues police, city

LAWRENCE — The woman who was raped by former Lawrence police Officer Kevin Sledge is suing him, police Chief John Romero and the city for allegedly failing to properly supervise Sledge resulting in her Sept. 28, 2008 rape behind the Lowell Street police station.

Sledge, a 17-year veteran of the police department, was convicted of rape and three counts of indecent assault and battery on Jan. 28, 2011. The 48-year-old former Salem. N.H., resident was sentenced to 10 to 12 years in state prison.

The woman, who now lives in Haverhill, suffers from severe depression and anxiety, and must take medication and undergo continued therapy, according to the lawsuit. Her life "has been gravely affected and interrupted as a result of this and (she) continually lives in fear and paranoia of being attacked again," according to the suit, filed by Haverhill attorney Marsha Kazarosian on Sept. 22 in Lawrence Superior Court.

The Eagle-Tribune is withholding the woman's name because she is the victim of sexual assault.

Romero declined comment for this article, adding he cannot speak about any pending litigation. Mayor William Lantigua did not return a message seeking comment for this story.

The suit alleges Romero did not take appropriate steps to investigate, supervise, monitor or train Sledge "to safeguard citizens."

The suit describes the incarcerated officer as "an individual known to them to have engaged in high risk behavior in the past."

The victim is seeking damages for her "personal injuries and mental anguish," along with attorney's fees and court costs.

Sledge, who was on duty and in uniform, picked up the woman, who was drunk and got separated from her friends that night in September 2008. She asked him for a ride home to her house in Nashua, N.H.

Instead, Sledge, who was driving his personal car, a silver Jaguar, drove the woman to the parking lot behind the police station. He left the woman, who was sick and passing in and out of consciousness, in his car and went inside to his post in the department's booking room. A jury convicted Sledge of repeatedly returning to the car to rape and assault the woman.

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