Lesbian student claims sheriff’s office told her she wasn’t raped, she’d just ‘never been with a man before’

Lily Wakefield June 1, 2020
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lesbian rape investigation

The lawsuit against Albany county sheriff's office has been approved to move forwards. (Albany County Sheriffs Office/ Facebook)

A judge has allowed a lawsuit to move forward alleging that sheriff’s office deputies pressured a lesbian to recant her rape allegation, telling her: “it must be weird being with a man”.

In 2017 the plaintiff, then a University of Wyoming student, told friends that she had been sexually assaulted, according to the Laramie Boomerang.

Someone from the university reported the incident to the the Albany, Wyoming county sheriff’s office.

However the lawsuit alleges that the two deputies in charge of the investigation, Christian Handley and Aaron Gallegos, pressured the victim to recant her accusation.

A court will now hear arguments about how her gender and sexuality played a key role in how she was treated. 

Judge rules deputies handled lesbian’s rape case poorly.

In April, judge Alan Johnson ruled that Handley and Gallegos would not be personally liable, but admitted that their handling of the case was poor.

Despite calls from the defendants to throw out the case, Johnson has now approved the case to move forward, ruling that the sheriff’s department itself must be held responsible for the actions of its deputies.

The judge wrote that the transcript of their interview with the plaintiff suggested the sheriff’s office “may treat lesbian women claiming sexual assault differently from straight women claiming sexual assault”.

In the lawsuit, lawyers for the plaintiff said that during an interview, the deputies used “abusive” tactics “as they decided on their own version of events and ‘told’ her what happened, instead of listening to her”.

You’ve never done this before. And this is maybe one of your first times with a man, and it was weird for you.

Handley reportedly insinuated that the incident was consensual, and asked if her attacker “physically held [her] down and tie[d her] down and rape[d her].”

According to the suit, Gallegos suggested in the interview that the plaintiff only thought the incident was rape because she is a lesbian.

“You’ve never done this before. And this is maybe one of your first times with a man, and it was weird for you,” he said, reportedly.

In his decision to allow the case to move forward, the judge wrote: “It is not only plausible, but clear defendants failed to adequately respond to this sexual assault allegation, at least in part, due to sex-based stereotypes.

“It is inconceivable [Gallegos and Handley] would tell a straight woman that it must be weird being with a man.”

In a May 22 court filing, attorneys for the Albany county sheriff’s office denied that “sexuality factored into the deputies’ investigation and determination”.


More: Albany, lesbian, rape, sherrif's office, Wyoming

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