The woman who says a former Lincoln police officer sexually assaulted her filed a lawsuit alleging the police department failed to act when she came forward with her allegations.

Last year, the woman filed a tort claim seeking $1 million for past, present and future physical pain, mental anguish and humiliation arising from the alleged sexual assaults.

But, this week, her attorney, Kathleen Neary, withdrew the tort claim because the city had failed to take any action on it, and she filed the lawsuit in Lancaster County District Court.

In general, the Journal Star does not identify victims of sexual assault.

"All sexual and physical assaults are egregious; however, this situation is especially outrageous as the repeated assaults were perpetrated by Lincoln Police Department personnel who were sworn to 'protect and serve,'" Neary said in an email Friday. "Using the badge and the power that goes along with wearing the blue police uniform to violate (my client's) statutory and constitutional rights is particularly disturbing. LPD turned a blind eye to the situation."

In the complaint filed Thursday, she said the city allowed the Lincoln woman to be "repeatedly subjected to sexual and physical assaults and/or unwelcomed sexual and physical contact" by an employee or employees of the police department from mid-2016 to October 2017.

Neary wrote that the employee(s) took advantage of the woman's mental and physical condition at the time and the employee(s) were acting in the scope of their employment.

Neary didn't name the officer. But one former Lincoln Police officer, Greg Cody, retired from the department amid an investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol and now faces sexual assault charges.

In court records in the criminal case, 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. His attorney called the allegations horrible and false and said Cody unequivocally denies them.

Acting City Attorney Chris Connolly said Friday in an email that he hasn't seen the lawsuit, "so I won't have any comment at this time."

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 reportedly had inappropriate relationships.

Bliemeister said Friday he trusts the criminal and civil process.

"The Lincoln Police Department's response to this investigation was immediate, transparent and continued even after the departure of Greg Cody from our agency," he said in an email. 

He said in response to the investigation, the department reaffirmed its expectations and provided training to employees.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSpilger.


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