City could pay $89,000 settlement to woman sexually attacked by police officer

03/22/2013 5:44 PM

03/22/2013 5:46 PM

A woman sexually attacked by a Wichita police officer will receive a $89,000 settlement from the city if the Wichita City Council approves on Tuesday.

The city’s law department is recommending the city settle with the woman, who was sexually attacked on Feb. 27, 2011, by then-officer Joseph T. McGill. He is a defendant in a separate civil lawsuit brought by the victim in February 2012 in Sedgwick County District Court. The victim also filed suit in June 2012 against the city and Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams in the case.

The woman, who is not being named by The Eagle because she was the victim of a sex crime, is alleging damages for post traumatic stress disorder, lost wages and future medical expenses.

McGill pleaded guilty in January 2012 to sexual battery in this case and in a separate incident that occurred in November 2010. He was sentenced to three years’ probation. McGill, who had three years on the department, resigned after the charges were filed after originally being suspended by the department.

The civil suit against the city and Williams alleges that they were negligent in the hiring of McGill, and in allowing him to remain on active duty while the November 2010 incident was under investigation.

The settlement will go before the City Council for final approval during Tuesday’s regular meeting at City Hall. In documents provided by the city, its legal staff recommends the settlement due to “the uncertainty and risk of an adverse judgment at trial.”

However, that same document says the settlement does not reflect an admission of liability on the part of McGill or the city. The settlement will be paid out of the city’s tort claims fund, which is used to pay off cases the city doesn’t want to take to trial.

Mayor Carl Brewer declined to comment Friday on the settlement.

The original criminal charges in the case against McGill alleged that he “unlawfully and intentionally” touched the victim to satisfy his sexual desires when the victim was “overcome by force or fear.”

The civil suit against McGill alleges that he handcuffed the victim and placed her in his patrol car, then drove to her residence – all without an arrest or “legal justification” for the use of handcuffs.

Then while she was cuffed and outside the patrol vehicle, the suit says, McGill sexually attacked the victim, whose screams were so loud that he released her, allowing her to run into her home.

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