Rape victim's lawsuit dismissed
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A federal suit filed by a Butler County rape victim who was jailed by police because they didn't believe her has been dismissed.
Sara Reedy, who is in her early 20s, had filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh in August 2006.
Cranberry Solicitor Vicki Beatty confirmed yesterday that a summary judgment was issued by the court on Tuesday, dismissing the case and lifting liability from all parties in the suit, including the township, its police department and its employees.
Ms. Reedy had reached a settlement of $45,000 in February 2007 from an insurance company representing Butler County, which also had been a party in the federal suit.
The woman was working as a service station clerk in Cranberry on July 14, 2004, when a man entered the store, sexually assaulted her at gunpoint, then stole $606.73 from the cash register. She called for help from local police, but the responding officers were skeptical of her account. Ms. Reedy ultimately was charged in January 2005 for making false reports to police, theft and receiving stolen property. She lost her job and spent five days in jail while she was pregnant.
Then, in August 2005, a month before she was to stand trial on the charges, Wilber Cyrus Brown II of Dauphin County was caught by police in the act of raping a woman at a convenience store in Jefferson County. During a police interrogation, he admitted to a series of sexual assaults, including the assault on Ms. Reedy. The criminal charges against Ms. Reedy were immediately withdrawn.
Cranberry Manager Jerry Andree said the "whole situation was horrible and unfortunate but hindsight is 20-20. The police deals with hard circumstances all the time and it's easy to second-guess. [This decision] shows that what happened didn't rise to the level of the police being legally liable."
First Published April 3, 2009 8:19 am