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Victim of former Officer Skweres sues the city

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By Brian Bowling

Published: Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, 11:57 a.m.

The final victim of former Pittsburgh police Officer Adam Skweres said on Thursday that she filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city to try to force it to fix its process for investigating complaints against officers.

“Even though I doubt it, I hope,” she said. The Tribune-Review doesn't identify victims of sexual assault.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages from the city, Public Safety Director Michael Huss, former police Chief Nate Harper, and former Assistant Chief of Operations William Bochter.

City Solicitor Lourdes Sánchez Ridge and Sonya Toler, spokeswoman for Mayor Bill Peduto, declined to comment.

Skweres showed up at the woman's house unannounced on Feb. 11, 2012, offering to help her jailed boyfriend in return for sex, the lawsuit says. When she refused, Skweres gestured toward his handgun and forced her to perform a sex act, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit claims that the city violated her civil rights by allowing Skweres to become an officer despite his failing a psychological screening in 2005 and keeping him on the force even though two women in 2008 and one in 2011 reported similar assaults.

“The city never removed Skweres from his duties,” said the woman's lawyer, Tim O'Brien. “It never regulated his duties so he wouldn't have contact with women. He was never disciplined.”

It was only after his client reported Skweres' assault to the FBI that the city took action, O'Brien said.

Skweres, 36, of Lincoln Place pleaded guilty in March to state charges of attempted rape, indecent assault, false imprisonment, bribery, official oppression and criminal coercion. He is serving a sentence of 31⁄2 to 8 years in prison, to be followed by 10 years of probation.

If she hadn't gone to the FBI, “this might still be going on,” O'Brien said.

“It is a broken system,” he said. “They know it's a broken system, and it needs to be corrected.”

Brian Bowling is a Trib Total Media staff writer.




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