Pretty messed up.
http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/loca ... 44780.html
Woman sexually abused as child sues over video tapes
Retired Tacoma officer had tapes
STACEY MULICK; email@example.com
Published: August 14th, 2008 02:00 AM | Updated: August 14th, 2008 05:51 AM
A woman who was sexually assaulted as a child is suing Pierce County and the City of Tacoma, claiming they negligently allowed a police officer later convicted of sex crimes access to two videotapes showing her being abused.
The woman, identified as K.W. in her lawsuit, also names retired Tacoma officer Lee William Giles Jr. as a defendant. Giles was convicted of nonrelated child-sex crimes earlier this year and sentenced to 19 years to life in prison.
Tacoma police detectives discovered the tapes while searching Giles’ home last August.
The woman claims county officials failed to destroy the two videotapes despite a judge’s order that they do so by 1994.
“Instead, they were retained in the Pierce County evidence room and were allowed to be removed by police officers and taken home for viewing,” the lawsuit states.
She also contends Tacoma police did not adequately train Giles.
The woman, represented by Tacoma personal-injury attorney Jack Connelly, says she has suffered “extreme psychological and emotional injury” as a result of learning that the court order was not followed.
“She suffers from extreme psychological pain and humiliation and emotional distress knowing that the tapes still exist, that they have not been secure and that others have been permitted to view the videotapes,” her lawsuit states.
Tacoma City Attorney Elizabeth Pauli said the city had not been served with the lawsuit as of Wednesday, so she could not comment on its allegations. No responses to the lawsuit have been filed in King County.
The videotapes were taken from a locked storage room at the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department where items set for destruction are kept, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
For a time during his law enforcement career, Giles shared with a sheriff’s deputy an office next to the storage room. They had keys to the room because they kept their confidential files and other items in the room, Troyer said.
“He managed to get in there and cherry-pick what he wanted,” Troyer said of Giles. “He’s the issue. He’s the problem.”
Property stored in the room is routinely destroyed.
“In the past, we’ve not had a problem,” Troyer said. “It’s a locked, secure facility.”
It’s unclear when exactly Giles took the tapes, Connelly said.
ABUSED BY STEPFATHER
In her lawsuit, K.W. reports being sexually abused by her stepfather and says that he videotaped some of the incidents.
He later was arrested by Astoria, Ore., police in a child pornography sting. Police seized the two tapes and later booked them into evidence in the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department’s property room, according to the suit.
Connelly said he wasn’t sure why Astoria police booked their evidence in Pierce County, but Pierce County detectives later took over the investigation.
Two videotapes were confiscated as part of the investigation and placed in the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department’s property room as evidence in January 1991, the lawsuit states. The stepfather was later convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor and of second-degree child molestation.
At the end of the court case, a judge ordered the videotapes and other visual evidence destroyed.
The lawsuit claims the judge’s decision to destroy the tapes was “extremely important” to K.W. and allowed her to “move forward secure in the knowledge that the images of these events were behind her and had been destroyed.”
In fact, the tapes were not destroyed and somehow ended up with Giles.
NO BACKUP, SUIT SAYS
The lawsuit alleges that there was no system in place to make sure the court order was followed or that “police officers employed by the City of Tacoma could not simply take the pornographic images home for their viewing.”
Giles is the only officer named in the suit.
“No systems, procedures or protocols were in place or followed to protect victims of child sexual abuse from having these images viewed by others or brought back at later dates,” the lawsuit states.
The failure to destroy the tapes and to make sure they were guarded “was unreasonable and negligent,” the suit states.
Giles is serving his sentence at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen, Grays Harbor County.
Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268
Staff writer Adam Lynn contributed to this report.