A new lawsuit against the Marco Island Police Dept. says four officers repeatedly took advantage of a young woman. It is the latest accusation against a department that seems to be caught in an ongoing saga of controversy.
The warning letter states the MIPD officers capitalized on the “fragility, vulnerability and instability” of the woman. Kristine Hollingsworth, at the Florida Dept. of Health, said it is normal in similar cases.
“This is not something that just happens once in a blue moon,” Hollingsworth said. “It happens 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.”
The letter from the 21-year-old woman’s attorney, Dennis Webb, details what happened in 26 pages. Some of the evidence, such as sexually graphic text messages and videos, the attorney uses to claim that the woman’s reputation was sabotaged.
We spoke to the mother and father of the woman. The parents said they were not commenting at this time.
“We do see that victims are also shamed,” Hollingsworth said.
The document said it is Marco Island’s fault for not providing appropriate training to the police officers and having them “running amok.”
The woman, is seeking money for lost wages and the cost of psychiatric treatment. The City of Marco Island has 21 days to respond or the lawyer said they would file the lawsuit.
As for Hector Fernandez, who lives in Marco Island, he hopes the scandal clears up soon.
“We just had a little bit of a dysfunctional city government going for a bit,” Fernandez said. “And hopefully that’s all been cleaned up, and things have gotten much more organized.”