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Litigation Filed Against Former Officer And City Of Jasper

Last updated on Tuesday, November 12, 2013

(JASPER) - In April, the City of Jasper received a tort claim notice demanding $500,000 for the victim of an alleged sexual assault by one of the city’s police officers.

The Dubois County Free Press reports that the tort claim notice -- a letter giving notice to a government entity of a potential lawsuit -- was file against the City of Jasper, the Jasper Police Department and former City police officer Dave Drew on April 23 by Jared Michel Thomas, an attorney located in Evansville, representing the plaintiff.

According to the notice, the plaintiff alleges Drew sexually assaulted him on October 24, 2012, while Drew was acting as an officer for the department.

According to the tort claim notice, the plaintiff believed Drew was "operating under the laws of the State of Indiana," when the alleged sexual assault took place.

The notice states the city and the department are liable for actions of their "agents occurring within the course of their agents' duties."

Drew was the subject of an internal investigation as well as an Indiana State Police investigation, according to city officials.

Based on those investigations, Jasper Police Chief Michael Bennett asked the Jasper Board of Public Works for approval to begin the administrative actions required to terminate Drew in February, 2013. Drew was on medical leave at the time due to a surgery.

Drew resigned before any administrative action was taken by the Jasper Board of Public Works, effectively sealing the details of the internal investigation from the public eye by state law. Administrative actions taken by the city in regards to its employees are considered public record but since Drew was not fired, no administrative actions regarding the investigation were taken.

The Dubois County Free Press filed a written request with the City of Jasper at the time to obtain further information on the facts surrounding Drew's suspension with pay. According to an official statement by the city, Drew was suspended with pay "based on the desire of the City of Jasper to protect the interest of Officer Drew as well as the morale and integrity of the Police Department and its acting officials."

The Indiana State Police completed their investigation into Drew's potential criminal activities and turned it over to special prosecuting attorney Mike Steiner the first week of March. Steiner is the Martin County prosecuting attorney and as of last week, he had not filed any charges based on that investigation, according to a staff member.

The details of the state police investigation are being withheld pending any charges being filed by the Martin County Prosecuting Attorney.

The plaintiff's attorney, Thomas, stated he would not answer any questions about the potential lawsuit.

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