A woman who was strip-searched and groped by a former Baltimore Police officer during a traffic stop on New Year’s Day 2016 is set to be awarded $60,000 in return for ending her lawsuit.
The settlement, coming before the Board of Estimates on Wednesday, involves a then-pregnant 20-year-old who was pulled over on Greenspring Avenue in northwest Baltimore by Officer Marcos Paul.
Paul instructed the woman to follow him to a secluded location “where he conducted unconstitutional searches of her vehicle and person, which included inappropriate sexual contact,” according to a city law department memo.
In her lawsuit, the woman was more specific, saying the officer unzipped her jacket, fondled her breasts and removed her leggings. She said she feared he was going to rape her before he left without issuing a ticket or citation.
The woman reported the incident the same day, and Paul was interviewed by detectives. Paul denied the plaintiff’s allegations but submitted a resignation letter 12 days later and was immediately terminated by the BPD.
In her lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in 2018, the woman sought $5 million in damages for lost wages and benefits, emotional pain, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life.
She said she sold her car and moved out of her apartment because she was terrified that the former officer knew where she lived. Unable to function after the incident, she said she lost her job.
Paul, meanwhile, disappeared after receiving notice of the lawsuit. “[He] failed to respond to communication attempts by counsel and failed to participate in the litigation to date,” the law department stated.
The case was about to go to trial, with Paul in absentia, when the city moved to settle with the cash offer.