The woman who has accused former Lincoln police officer Greg Cody of sexual assault has filed a tort claim alleging the police department failed to act after she told city employees of the alleged abuse.
The woman's attorney, Kathleen Neary, filed the claim with the city last month. It seeks $1 million for past, present and future physical pain, mental anguish and humiliation arising from the alleged sexual assaults.
In general, the Journal Star does not identify victims of sexual assault.
The tort claim asserts that the city allowed the woman to be abused by an unnamed officer, identified by the Journal Star as Cody, from mid-2016 to October 2017, when the alleged assaults were reported to the Nebraska State Patrol.
"Any woman that has gone through what our client has gone through would be justified in seeking way over a million," Neary said, but the city's tort process caps damages at that dollar amount.
A State Patrol investigator said the Lincoln woman reported more than a year's worth of interactions with Cody, including about 50 sexual encounters that she described as forced.
She told investigators she felt coerced because Cody didn't take her into emergency protective custody, but she feared he still could, which would have jeopardized her ability to keep her children.
The 27-year veteran officer has pleaded not guilty to first-degree sexual assault of an incompetent person and his trial is set for June 2019. His attorney called the allegations horrible and false and said Cody unequivocally denies them.
Filing the tort claim is a precursor to a potential lawsuit, though Neary said Tuesday her client has not decided whether she would sue.
So far the City Attorney's Office has not taken any action on the tort claim, and City Attorney Jeff Kirkpatrick said his staff might not until after the criminal case is resolved.
Neary has alleged the department failed to properly hire, train and supervise employees, report claims of citizen assault, investigate those claims or take remedial action, among other allegations.
Kirkpatrick said the department is not necessarily liable for the bad actions of a city employee.
So far, Kirkpatrick said, "we don’t have any evidence that would have either told us we had a problem or at least gave us notice that we needed to investigate further."
Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister's internal investigation arising from the reported sexual assault led to discipline of two officers for failing to follow up or report to higher-ups or internal affairs that other officers had inappropriate relationships.
The pending court case against Cody complicates ruling on the woman's tort claim because Kirkpatrick worries a ruling could prejudice a jury, he said.
And the trial might bring more revelations.
"There might be some evidence that comes out during that criminal trial that we’re not aware of at this point," Kirkpatrick said.