Woman Assaulted By Pa. Trooper Files Civil-rights Lawsuit The Montco Woman Cites His Superiors, Too, Saying They Ignored Warning Signs. The Ex-trooper Was Jailed In Oct.

Posted: November 08, 2000

A Perkiomen woman who was sexually assaulted by a former state trooper has filed a federal civil-rights suit against him, the state police commissioner and four supervising officers in the Skippack barracks at the time.

The suit alleges that they ignored warning signs that Trooper Michael Evans was a sexual predator and conspired with Evans to cover up at least five complaints of sexual misconduct.

In the 30-page suit filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, the woman says that in January 1999, Evans made lewd comments to her, masturbated in front of her, and sexually assaulted her at her home in front of her 12-year-old son.

The lawsuit, filed by the woman as Jane Doe, says both the woman and her son have suffered "severe emotional distress" because state police - either deliberately, maliciously, recklessly and/or negligently - promoted an atmosphere in which "unusual," "lewd" and "illegal" conduct was considered acceptable.

Further, the suit says, the woman's complaint, as well as several prior complaints filed against Evans, was not properly investigated by his superiors, who allowed him to remain in his position until September 1999, when he was transferred to the communications desk at the Belmont barracks.

He was arrested in February on charges he sexually assaulted and molested three teenage girls and three women - including the woman filing the suit - between 1997 and 1999.

Evans, 33, of Pottstown, pleaded guilty last month to 11 of the 19 charges against him, including that he inappropriately touched a teenager in his custody and offered to protect a victim of domestic abuse in exchange for sexual favors.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, he will serve five to 10 years in prison and 10 years' probation.

State police spokesman Jack Lewis declined to comment on the lawsuit yesterday, but he said that the agency's Bureau of Professional Responsibility continues to investigate the circumstances leading up to Evans' arrest.

Lewis also said the investigation continues into an allegation that another male trooper from the Skippack barracks might have had inappropriate contact with a woman.

"This is going to be a big snowball effect," said the plaintiff's attorney, Thomas Sheridan, adding that other victims could file separate lawsuits against the state police.

The civil-rights suit names as defendants Evans; state police Commissioner Paul Evanko; former Skippack barracks commander Lt. David Kreiser; Sgt. Kevin Krupiewski; and Cpls. Gary Dance Jr. and Laura Bowman, both of whom have transferred out of Skippack.

Sought are a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $100,000.

Sheridan said the state police chose to ignore suspicious behavior exhibited by Evans, including Evans' exposing himself at a party at a supervisor's home and posting a picture in his locker of a naked woman standing next to his police car.

Even after receiving a complaint from a juvenile accusing Evans of inappropriate sexual conduct, Sheridan said, Bowman, Evans' direct superior, continued to give him "rave reviews," and he was trained to work in the sex-crimes unit, where he learned how to profile potential victims.

Margie Fishman's e-mail address is mfishman@phillynews.com

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