A Virginia teacher clinched a $5 million judgment in a civil case against a police official who arrested her in an early morning raid after a former student accused her of sex abuse.
Kimberly Winters, 36, who previously taught high school English in Loudoun County, was awarded the millions of dollars by a jury earlier this month after suing a sheriff’s detective who she said ruined her life.
The case dates back to the fall of 2018 when she said authorities rammed into her bedroom, grabbed her from bed and then arrested her, leaving her to stand outside her house in handcuffs for neighbors to see, according to the Washington Post.
She was charged with indecent liberties with a minor by a person in a custodial or supervisory relationship for allegedly having sex with one of her students.
The case was dropped months later once prosecutors further investigated the allegations, according to reports.
The student and his mother brought the sexual abuse allegations up after he graduated from the high school — but authorities at first declined to move forward because they believed he was 18 during the alleged contact, the Washington Post reported.
The accuser then changed the dates of the alleged abuse to when he was 17, and his mother claimed to have texts between her son and the teacher to prove she was guilty, the newspaper reported.
Winters reportedly had an alibi for both dates provided to police, but Det. Peter Roque did not interview Winters or review her whereabouts, the lawsuit states.
Search warrants turned up nothing and phone records also led to no evidence of sexual contact when he was a minor, Winters’ lawsuit reportedly states.
“After the arrest they did everything they should have done before the arrest,” Winters lawyer Thomas Plofchan told the Washington Post. He said Roque admitted to charging his client “without doing any investigation.”
Even after the charge was dropped, the Loudoun County school board approved firing Winters. Her lawyer said the district wrongly appealed to the school board after an administrative judge found Winters did nothing wrong, the Washington Post reported.
Plofchan alleged the school board relied on possibly fake phone records to prove Winters had an inappropriate relationship with the student, according to the newspaper.
Roque’s lawyer, Andrew Francuzenko, insisted at the civil suit trial that Winters made a “tacit admission” in a conversation with the student’s mother that she had sex with him, the Loudoun Times reported.
The lawyer also argued any missteps in the investigation were not malicious.
“There are hard decisions to make and sometimes you get them wrong and you don’t want to, but that doesn’t mean you’re malicious,” Francuzenko reportedly said. “What she’s going through is because of her relationship with [the former student]. Not because of Peter Roque.”
The mother of the former student told the Washington Post she still believes her son was sexually abused by the former teacher.
Winters denied any sexual contact with the accuser.
“The moment that I was arrested I got basically blacklisted from everyone at school, all of my friends, all of my group chats with teachers,” Winters told the Washington Post. “I didn’t feel safe in my community. I couldn’t go outside, or go to church. They all thought I was guilty. No one gave me the benefit of the doubt. It was horrible.”
Plofchan argued Roque investigated on a false belief “to the detriment to this woman here.”
“She paid the price because he heard some crazy story, some cockamamie story, and he didn’t corroborate any of it,” he said, according to the Loudoun Times.
The sheriff’s department plans on filing an appeal to the lawsuit judgment, according to reports.
The post Virginia teacher awarded $5M for debunked sex abuse charge: reports appeared first on New York Post.