Two Texas women have filed a lawsuit against the state’s department of public safety, claiming that a state policewoman molested them with a roadside cavity search for drugs during a routine traffic stop in July.
Angel and Ashley Dobbs, of Irving in Dallas County, filed the lawsuit on Monday against Texas Ranger Kelley Helleson, fellow Ranger David Farrell, and Steven McCraw, the director of the Department of Public Safety, according to Austin-based ABC affiliate KVUE-TV
Farrell said he pulled over the aunt and niece for throwing a cigarette out the window and then smelled marijuana in the car, so called Helleson to conduct a search. No drugs were found and the women were released with a warning.
The lawsuit claims Helleson used her fingers to search inside each woman's genital area. The suit also says the trooper didn't change the glove she was wearing and performed the search without consent, according to KVUE-TV.
Angel Dobbs, 38, who was driving her boyfriend's car, also passed a field sobriety test.
"I didn't know what I could say or what I could do," said Ashley Dobbs, 24. "I felt helpless."
A DPS spokeswoman declined to comment on the pending litigation but said the Texas Rangers investigated the stop and sent the results to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office.
"This intrusive cavity search occurred on the side of a public freeway illuminated by lights from the police vehicle in full view of the passing public," the lawsuit reads. "Moreover, this roadside body cavity search was done without her consent."
The suit alleges Helleson did not tell the women the extent of the search or ask for consent, telling Angel “not to worry about” why she was putting on the latex gloves, KVUE-TV reports.
Angel recalls the experience: "I was molested, I was violated, I was humiliated in front of other traffic. I had to watch my niece go through the same thing and I could not protect her at that point."
Both women and their lawyer say the suit is to prevent further incidents like this one.
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