Disbelieving rape report costs Cranberry $1.5M
By Bill Zlatos
Published: Sunday, December 16, 2012, 11:59 p.m.
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
A case involving a rape victim and Cranberry police who arrested her on charges of making up the story has ended with the woman receiving a $1.5 million settlement, township officials confirmed on Sunday.
“We're sorry it all happened. We're glad it's resolved, and we hope everyone can move forward,” Township Manager Jerry Andree said.
The case began at 10:40 p.m. July 14, 2004, when Sara Reedy, now married and named Watt, was working the second shift at the JG Gulf station on Route 19.
A man walked into the store and stole money from the cash register. Then he held a gun to her temple and demanded that she perform oral sex, she told police.
After the attack, Watt called 911 and went to UPMC Passavant Cranberry, where she was interviewed by Detective Frank Evanson.
He contended that she made up the story to cover up her stealing about $600. He charged her with falsely reporting a crime, theft and receiving stolen property.
Watt spent five days in jail until posting bail.
A month before her trial, police in Jefferson County arrested Wilbur Cyrus Brown II as he sexually assaulted a store clerk. Brown admitted to two other attacks, including the one on Watt.
Butler County authorities dropped the charges against her.
The Tribune-Review could not reach Watt for comment, but a story in The London Observer quoted her as saying, “I'm relieved that people will be able to see now that I was telling the truth. Although mine is an extreme case, I'm not the first — and I won't be the last.”
Andree said United National Insurance Co., the township's insurer, will pick up all of the settlement, except for Cranberry's $5,000 or $10,000 deductible.
Watt will get $800,000, and her attorneys, Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl, $700,000, according to the settlement. She will get an upfront sum of $80,000 plus monthly payments of $5,500 between 2013 and 2017, $5,000 a month from 2018 through 2022, and $3,857 a month from 2023 to 2027. She also received a separate $45,000 settlement with Butler County.
The $1.5 million settlement ends Watt's federal lawsuit and spares both sides further attorney fees. The Third U.S. Court of Appeals had sent the case back to U.S. District Court.
“There are a lot of regrets about how it all turned out. It certainly was all unintended consequences,” Andree said.
Everson, who remains on the police force, was not disciplined, Andree said.
Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.He can be reached at 412-320-7828or email@example.com. Staff writerBill Vidonic contributed to this report.
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If you read the court documents regarding the lawsuit, you will quickly conclude that Frank Evanson is either completely incompetent or corrupt, and either way he should be fired. This is taken from the summary of the findings U.S. District Court of Western PA (d.c. 06-cv-01080) dated 8/2/10: While working as a cashier at a convenience store, nineteen-year-old Sara R. Reedy was sexually assaulted and robbed at gunpoint by a serial sex offender. She reported the crime to the police within minutes, subjected herself to a rape kit examination, and gave detailed and consistent statements to law enforcement officers and hospital staff. However, Detective Frank Evanson of the Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania Police Department, the lead investigator assigned to Reedy’s case, believed that Reedy had fabricated the incident to cover up her own theft of cash from the convenience store. ***Approximately three months later, Evanson also became the lead investigator on another sexual attack that was substantially similar to the assault on Reedy and that Evanson knew was suspected to be the work of a serial rapist.*** Six months after the assault on Reedy, Evanson filed a criminal complaint against her, charging her with falsely reporting a crime, theft, and receipt of stolen property. Reedy spent five days in jail. The charges against her were dropped only when the serial rapist was captured and confessed to assaulting her, to committing the theft, and to committing the other sexual assault investigated by Evanson. (*** added for emphasis) What the above and the various news organizations fail to mention was that Evanson lied to the judge to prevent Reedy from getting bail. He tested her blood for drugs against her Constitutional rights. He did not get a fingernail from the rape kit tested for DNA, according to at least one report. Current Cranberry Twp employee Lt. Kevin Meyers accompanied Evanson to Reedy's home to try to intimidate her into withdrawing her report which mentioned how he disbelieved her and treated her aggressively and inappropriately. Reedy had to call the serial rape task force herself to submit her rape, while Evanson submitted information about the 2nd (Landmark bldg) rape to the state task force the very same day he pressed bogus charges against Reedy. A reporter advised Reedy that her rapist had been caught and had confessed, rather than police and the Butler county D.A. immediately dismissing all charges against her. Another news source says that Evanson voluntarily moved from being a detective to road patrol, but there was no change in his rank, and Township Manager Jerry Andree continues to defend him in spite of his horrible behavior (in this case and in others I am told). It is an atrocity that Cranberry Township officials will not do the right thing to protect the community from an overbearing, incompetent and dangerous police officer and fire him. I am sure many cases of Evanson abusing Cranberry Township people will come to light soon.