WSAZ Investigates | Second Alleged Rape Victim to File Lawsuit Against WVSP

WSAZ confirmed Wednesday that state officials have been notified about another lawsuit involving a rape allegation involving a WVSP trooper.
Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 6:22 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - In our ongoing investigation into alleged wrongdoing by high-ranking members of West Virginia State Police, we confirmed Wednesday that state officials have been notified about another lawsuit.

It’s something we have been following since February, and we reported Monday about a rape allegation involving a trooper.

The latest lawsuit is expected to be filed by a second alleged rape victim, and the attorney says this case involves the same trooper.

The investigation was sparked by two anonymous letters sent to state officials and Gov. Jim Justice. Those letters include accusations of a hidden camera system in the women’s locker room of the West Virginia State Police Academy and a trooper stealing money from a man at a casino in Cross Lanes.

Also, last week, the governor announced a rape investigation -- saying “maybe multiple rapes” that are being investigated by the FBI.

On Monday, we reported about a letter sent late last month from a Charleston law firm to a West Virginia State Police attorney. It details one rape allegation so graphic that we chose not to share much with you.

That letter put the agency on notice of a forthcoming lawsuit-- based on an incident they say happened in December 2021. The letter states the trooper, who we’ve chosen not to name because he has not been charged, “drugged, kidnapped, and brutally raped” the alleged victim.

On Wednesday, WSAZ has obtained another letter, notifying the state of a separate forthcoming lawsuit -- another alleged rape by the same trooper in question.

Attorney Jesse Forbes works for the law firm that represents both alleged victims.

“What you have here is a situation,” Forbes said. “She’s taken from an establishment that she voluntarily went to. She’s taken out the back door of this place by a trooper who is telling her that he is a police officer and you’ve got to come with me. Then she’s put into a vehicle where she’s assaulted by multiple men.”

The allegations don’t stop there. According to the letter, just hours after the incident, the alleged victim called a Logan County Deputy Sheriff and requested his assistance.

“Immediately the next day, within hours, is trying to report it to law enforcement and is told you better not do that,” Forbes said.

WSAZ’s Sarah Sager called the Logan County sheriff to ask about that allegation, but the sheriff told her he was unaware. He said he would speak with her when he had more details.

This incident allegedly happened in July 2021 -- months before the other alleged rape in December.

“One of the more horrifying things is that the new accusations, the newer client, predates in time the original one,” Forbes said. “This is acting under the color of law in the most vicious way possible, according to these allegations.”

Sager reached out to West Virginia State Police for comment, leaving a message. As of airtime, she had not heard back but will keep reaching out.

Earlier this week, state police confirmed to Sager that the trooper allegedly involved was placed on administrative leave in October 2022 after West Virginia State Police learned about the initial rape allegation.

Sager also reached out to the FBI since the governor says they are handling the initial rape allegation. They would neither confirm nor deny the investigation. And when we asked the governor when that investigation got underway, he only repeated that the FBI is handling it.

For previous coverage:

WSAZ Investigates | New WVSP Chief of Staff Talks Allegations, Leading Agency Forward