The Texas Department of Public Safety has closed a lawsuit involving two Texas women who claimed to be violated during a roadside search last July.
The two women are Angela and Ashley Dobbs. They were pulled over for throwing cigarette butts out of their car window during a trip to Oklahoma last year. State Trooper David Farrell claimed he smelled marijuana in the car and decided to do a search. He found nothing.
Despite finding nothing, Farrell decided the women needed to be searched as well, and he called female Trooper Kelly Helleson to do the search. Here is where the problems began.
Rather than sticking to a standard pat down search, Helleson searched, quite literally, every cavity of the women’s bodies. She put on a pair of latex gloves and used her fingers to search the anuses and vaginas of both women. Helleson even used the same pair of gloves for both women.
Helleson’s searches turned up nothing, but the women were not about to forget what was done to them. They contacted attorney Scott Palmer and filed a lawsuit. The women won their lawsuit and were awarded $185,000.
“I think DPS came to the table, they did the right thing,” Palmer said. “They recognized this was a bad case that needed to go away.”
Helleson was fired and charged with two counts of sexual assault and two counts of official oppression. If she is convicted of the charges, she will need to register as a sex offender. Farrell is not off the hook either. He is currently suspended while investigators determine if he stole a bottle of hydrocodone from the women during the search.
Palmer and both women hope the ruling is stern enough to prevent officers from violating citizens during searches in the future.
“I don't think anybody needs to have to feel, or go through what we went through," Ashley Dobbs said. "It crosses my mind every day. It's humiliating.”