The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 3, 2013

Sophia police officer accused of forcing woman to perform sex acts

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

SOPHIA — A Raleigh County woman has filed a complaint against a Sophia police officer, alleging he forced her to perform oral sex on him in October last year.

The complaint alleges that John Phillip Stevens II, a Sophia police officer, “sexually harassed, assaulted and battered” her when she was under arrest last October.

The plaintiff, Erica Polk, described as a 32-year-old African American, was arrested Oct. 15, 2012, after Stevens responded to an altercation between her and her neighbor.

She was handcuffed with her hands behind her back and transported to Sophia City Hall to be processed, according to the complaint.

She was handcuffed again, this time with her hands in front of her, to be transported to Southern Regional Jail.

The complaint says Stevens told her he could get “some of her problems to go away” if she would “show him her breasts.”

At first Polk said no, but then she did as he instructed her, and lifted her shirt to expose her breasts.

The complaint alleges he then “groped Plaintiff’s breast with his hand while they were stopped at a red light.”

When the light turned green, he stopped and started driving again and she pulled her shirt and bra back over her breasts.

Stevens then allegedly told her that he could just write her a ticket instead of taking her to jail and he soon drove her to a gated area off the main roadway.

He allegedly ordered her to perform oral sex, among other things, which left Polk “crying, emotionally distraught and begging (him) not to do anything to her.”

The complaint states that he turned off his camera that was mounted in the police cruiser, got out of the car, walked to the rear door, unzipped his pants, pulled Polk across the back seat toward him, grabbed her hair in his hand and forced her to perform oral sex on him.

 Afterwards, he returned to his front seat to drive her to Southern Regional Jail and he told her not to tell anyone about what just happened.

Two days later, Polk contacted the West Virginia State Police and filed a complaint.

The Town of Sophia is also being charged with failure to properly train and supervise Stevens in the proper establishment of policies, practices, procedures and customs concerning the arrest, treatment, transportation, search and seizure and due process rights of those individuals under arrest and in the custody and control of Sophia police officers.

Polk is demanding a jury trial. She is represented by Brandon Johnson and Paul Stroebel of Stroebel & Johnson.

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