Local police dept. sued, accused of mishandling rape investigation

A local police department has been named in a lawsuit filed this week in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

The suit, filed on behalf of a “Jane Doe,” accuses the Northern Regional Police Department and one detective in particular of “shoddy, unprofessional and inadequate” police work in regard to a rape investigation.

The filing alleges that Doe, a former Pine Richland student, was brutally raped by a fellow student within a high school bathroom in January 2019. The victim, the document claims, came forward to a friend, law enforcement, the district and medical professionals on the very day of the alleged attack.

The suit accuses a detective of going to “great lengths to do whatever he could to undermine Ms. Doe’s credibility” and to “protect” the alleged attacker from being prosecuted. The suit claims police did this intentionally, in order to “protect the reputation” of the school district.

The suit seeks damages and requests a jury trial, claiming that Doe now suffers from mental anguish, embarrassment, insomnia and other challenges.

Northern Regional’s police chief and an attorney representing the police department both declined to comment, citing the pending litigation. A spokesperson for the school district declined to comment as well.

The lawsuit comes more than a year after Channel 11 covered a rally at a school board meeting, in which a former student and her family spoke out, claiming that she had been sexually abused on school property more than two years prior. https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/group-says-pine-richland-not-taking-claims-sex-assault-seriously-board-meeting/GNGQCVX4GNHLJBRGBWJF5IN6UI/

The family accused the district of failing to act, which leaders had denied at the time of our reporting.

Channel 11 is working to find out if that alleged assault is the same incident alleged in the recent lawsuit. Efforts to reach the family along with the attorney who has filed the suit on behalf of Doe had not been successful at the time this article was published.

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