Police officer who slept with six co-workers claims she was 'sexually groomed'
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Featured Image Credit: La Vergne Police Department/Facebook
Content warning: this article contains references to sexual assault
Five police officers in Tennessee have been fired and three remain suspended following an alleged sexual assault scandal within the La Vergne Police Department.
And one of the police officers, Maegan Hall, has come forward with claims that she had been 'groomed for sexual exploitation' in a new federal lawsuit against the department.
The eight officers in question were disciplined earlier this week before the internal investigation looking into Hall's allegations began.
Hall, 24, was the only female police officer fired in connection to the Tennessee La Vergne Police Department sex scandal.
She was fired back in January of this year and, after an internal investigation, it was found that Hall and other male officers had been having sex while on the job and then denied doing so.
The investigation showed that Hall was intimately involved with four other officers - Sergeant Lewis Powell, Sergeant Henry Ty McGowan, Detective Seneca Shields and Officer Juan Lugo-Perez - who were all subsequently fired, according to WSMV and CBS affiliate WTVF.
Three more officers - Patrick Magliocco, Larry Holladay and Gavin Schoeberl - were also suspended for their involvement in the department's sex scandal.
Five of the officers - Powell, Magliocco, Holladay, Shields and Lugo-Perez - have now admitted to engaging in sexual acts with Hall, the lawsuit details.
Hall has also admitted to engaging in sexual acts with the named five officers with an addition of officer McGowan too.
Following claims of sexual misconduct in relation to the scandal, Hall has since filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the department and her former coworkers.
Filed on Monday (27 February), the lawsuit alleges that Hall was a victim of sexual harassment, naming the city of La Vergne, Powell, McGowan and Davis as defendants. It also outlines that such harassment took place whilst she was being groomed for 'sexual exploitation'.
"Maegan Hall felt trapped in the role assigned to her at the City of La Vergne Police Department and, in an attempt to escape, she nearly killed herself," the lawsuit reads.
"Then, the City blamed her for everything. This lawsuit seeks justice for Maegan Hall."
It also explains that Hall frequently experienced harassment in the workplace which was 'permeated with sexual innuendo and sexually explicit behavior'.
Earlier this month, La Vergne Police Chief Burrel 'Chip' Davis was also fired after it was found that he 'was aware of the sexual misconduct within his department and never reported or disciplined any of the officers involved'.
"Maegan wasn't looked at as a rookie cop to be trained and promoted. She was looked at like a piece of meat to be sexualized and exploited," said civil rights attorney Wesley Clark with Brazil Clark PLLC.
Clark added that Hall said no to the sexual advances on several occasions, but her supervisors kept pressuring her until she gave in.
"There are going to be those who say they are consenting adults, and she is trying to place the blame elsewhere. It is easy to think that when you don't know the whole story," he added.
The lawsuit claims that the officers: "Colluded in using their authority to systematically disarm her resistance and entrap her in degrading and abusive sexual relationships — even sharing tips on the best ways to manipulate and exploit her."
"When Sgt. Powell wanted sex, he refused to take 'no' for an answer. He continued demanding sex, saying things like 'We’ll do it tomorrow,' or 'I’ve done so much for you, I’ve helped you,' and 'I’ve done so much for you in your personal life'," the lawsuit stated.
It continues: "The sexually coercive environment on the second shift at the La Vergne Police Department triggered increasingly severe symptoms of mental illness in Ms. Hall.
"Ms. Hall is entitled to an award of punitive damages against defendants Powell, McGowan, and Davis in an amount to be determined by a jury for the acts committed with malice or reckless disregard described in this complaint."
UNILAD has reached out to the La Vergne Police Department, The Rutherford County District Attorney and Interim Police Chief Brent Hatcher for comment.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact The Survivor’s Trust for free on 08088 010 818, or through their website thesurvivorstrust.org