The Suffolk police department said Tuesday that an officer accused in a federal lawsuit of sexually assaulting a woman inside a precinct was suspended without pay in early April after officials learned of the allegations.
In the suit, filed Tuesday in Central Islip federal court, the woman seeks at least $40 million in damages and legal fees.
She claims in the complaint that Officer Christopher A. McCoy sexually assaulted her after she was detained on March 16 for allegedly failing to appear in court for traffic infractions.
The suit says the woman reported the incident to the FBI because she feared Suffolk police would do nothing or retaliate against her, according to the complaint.
Days after the alleged sexual assault, McCoy sent the woman harassing text messages discussing the stop, the lawsuit states.
A Suffolk County police spokesman said McCoy remains on suspension, and confirmed the FBI is investigating the allegations in the lawsuit.
“We are aware of [the plaintiff’s] allegations, and our Internal Affairs Bureau has assisted the FBI in its criminal investigation, Assistant Police Commissioner Justin Meyers said in a statement. “We have also launched an Internal Affairs investigation into the allegations. McCoy has been suspended without pay since April 6, 2017, which is when the department first became aware of [the plaintiff’s] allegations. The department is taking all appropriate action.”
Information on attorneys for the two officers was not available last night. Suffolk PBA President Noel DeGerolamo was unavailable for comment.
A spokesman for the Justice Department’s Eastern District would not confirm or deny the FBI is investigating the woman’s allegations.
The lawsuit alleges that McCoy first groped the woman on the side of Straight Path in Wyandanch after a traffic stop and sexually assaulted her inside a First District interrogation room. McCoy’s partner, Officer Mark Pav, witnessed parts of the assault, the lawsuit alleges, but did not intervene. McCoy, Pav and Suffolk County are named as defendants in the suit. The plaintiff is named in the lawsuit but Newsday does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was a passenger in a car driving on Straight Path in Wyandanch on the morning of March 16 when McCoy and Pav, in a marked patrol car, pulled the vehicle over.
After taking the plaintiff’s identification and running a criminal-background check, the suit says, McCoy told her she had outstanding warrants due to traffic violations. The suit says the woman had court documents to prove the violations had been addressed but she was “falsely arrested and imprisoned.”
McCoy groped her at the scene of the traffic stop, then sexually assaulted her twice in an interrogation room at the Fifth Precinct in West Babylon, according to the suit. She asked the officers to take her to a hospital where she planned to request a rape kit, the suit continues, but the officers refused.
Three days after the alleged assault, the lawsuit says, the woman received a text message from an unknown phone number. When she asked the sender to identify himself, according to the complaint, McCoy sent her a message that said “I put you [sic] handcuffs . . . remember now?” The suit says he then texted an emoji of a police officer followed by message that said “easier now?”
The woman’s attorneys, Brian T. Egan of Patchogue and Michael J. Brown of Central Islip, said their client decided to contact the FBI because she wanted to make McCoy accountable for his behavior.
“This was a textbook case of abuse of power and victimizing the powerless,” Egan said.