Alleged assault victim filed $500,000 claim

By BILL POWELL
Herald Staff Writer

JASPER — A man claiming to be the victim of an alleged sexual assault by a former Jasper Police Department officer who resigned earlier this year filed a notice of tort claim in April asking for $500,000 in compensation.

The April 23 tort notice, required under Indiana law before a lawsuit can be filed, was against the City of Jasper, the Jasper Police Department and former officer David Drew. It alleges that, on Oct. 24, 2012, the alleged victim was sexually assaulted by Drew while he was serving with the Jasper police.
“At no time during the incident did the claimant consent to or willfully engage in a sexual relationship with officer Drew,” the notice obtained through a public records request stated.

The notice alleges Drew was “operating under the employment of the Jasper Police Department” at all times pertinent to the incident.

Evansville attorney Jared Michel Thomas, who is representing the alleged victim, declined to elaborate on the situation today and no lawsuit is known to have been filed to date. The complainant would have two years from the alleged Oct. 24 date of injury within which to file suit in most cases.

Drew resigned his position as a patrolman with the Jasper Police Department in March, just before the Jasper Board of Public Works and Safety was going to meet to decide if he would be fired.

Drew’s resignation meant the city did not have to release any details of why the officer was suspended with pay Feb. 12. According to Indiana’s public access laws, the details of a disciplinary action become public record if an employee is fired, demoted or suspended without pay.

The board suspended the 42-year-old officer after Police Chief Mike Bennett recommended that the 10-year officer be terminated. That recommendation was based on information obtained through an internal police department investigation as well as information obtained by the Indiana State Police, which has conducted an investigation into allegations regarding Drew’s conduct.

On Feb. 18, Drew requested a hearing concerning his employment. The hearing was held in a closed session of the public works board March 7.

Indiana State Police completed its investigation at the end of February. The Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office, which requested a special prosecutor in the case, forwarded the investigative file to the Martin County Prosecutor’s Office for review and the possible filing of charges. To date, no charges had been filed against Drew in a Dubois County court.

Since 2003, when he started with the Jasper police, Drew had at least four other disciplinary actions taken against him.

The earliest was in 2005 and the most recent was in November 2012. Two of the incidents resulted in suspensions while the other two resulted in oral reprimands. The tort claim notice alleged Drew had unspecified prior incidences of misconduct while a deputy with the Greene County Sheriff’s Department before joining the Jasper force.

The Herald could not obtain comment about the tort claim notice from Drew by presstime today.
Bennett declined comment and forwarded questions to City Attorney Renee Kabrick.

Kabrick confirmed today that standard protocol has Jasper’s tort claim notices forwarded to the city’s insurance carrier, which then looks into the allegations contained in each notice.

Kabrick said she has not been privy to any subsequent investigation that has been conducted by the city’s liability insurance provider, Governmental Interinsurance Exchange, of Bloomington, Ill.

At this point, Kabrick said today, the city has no other information suggesting a lawsuit will be filed as a follow-up to the tort claim notice.

Herald Staff Writers Tony Raap and Candy Neal contributed to this report.

Contact Bill Powell at bpowell@dcherald.com.




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