A Ventura teen’s family has filed a $10 million dollar claim against the City of Ventura for “severe emotional distress” suffered by the teen after she was allegedly sexually assaulted by Ventura Police Officer Ricky Payne, who committed suicide in 2011 after the department first began investigating the allegations.
The teen, whose identity is being withheld because of her age, alleges that she and Payne engaged in various sex acts from June to October 2011, and that the “City of Ventura and the Ventura Police Department knew or should have known of Defendant officer acts.” Officer Payne committed suicide in October 2011 while on duty. He was found in a relative’s yard with self-inflicted, fatal gunshot wounds. At the time of his death, the Ventura Police Department was preparing to investigate allegations against Payne. “We had received information as to some potential misconduct that Officer Payne was involved in … just hours prior to discovering his suicide,” Police Chief Ken Corney told the Ventura County Star.
Ron Bamieh, the attorney for the family, claims that Payne was tipped off about the questioning, which led to his suicide. Though Chief Corney declined to comment on specifics, he did tell the Ventura County Star that after Payne died, the Sheriff’s Office conducted an independent investigation that included interviews with a minor female and others in the department, but refused to disclose the findings of that investigation.
The stepfather of the girl involved in the case is employed by the police department, which is how she met Payne, according to Bamieh. Payne’s father likewise worked for the police department, as a sergeant, which Bamieh cites as the cause for a lackadaisical approach by the department in investigating the allegations against Payne.
“It’s apparent they had no interest in dealing with the reality of what Officer Payne was doing,” Bamieh told the Ventura County Star. “And when that happens, there are consequences. And the consequences were this lady’s mental health.”
[Source: Ventura County Star]