A police officer and the city that employed him settled a federal civil rights claim brought by a woman who alleged that the officer sexually abused her. Pursuant to the June 10, 2013 settlement, Bristol Borough agreed to pay the woman $385,000 from a self-insurance pool.

On the night of August 29, 2008, Joanne Cipressi called the Bristol police because her intoxicated ex-boyfriend refused to leave her residence. Officer Samuel Anderson and another officer responded, and were able to talk the ex-boyfriend into leaving. A few minutes after they left, however, Anderson returned, ostensibly to obtain the ex’s shoes.

While in the residence, Anderson allegedly made suggestive comments to Cipressi, such as “wouldn’t you expect your ex-boyfriend to want you, looking like that?” Anderson allegedly asked to see Cipressi naked, and after she disrobed out of fear for her safety, he forcibly performed oral sex on the terrified woman.

After the assault, Cipressi called 911. An investigation ensued, and Anderson was fired. He was also charged with several crimes, including official oppression, for which he received a 23 month prison sentence.

Cipressi sued Anderson, several other officers and Bristol Borough. She alleged civil rights violations, sexual assault, assault and battery, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Near the completion of discovery, the parties settled. While Bristol Borough claimed it only settled to avoid continued litigation costs, it ultimately agreed to pay Cipressi $385,000.

Case: Cipressi v. Bristol Borough, et al., United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Division, Case No. 2:10-cv-01584-AB (June 10, 2013).

Originally published in Criminal Legal News on December 20, 2017.

About Christopher Zoukis, MBA

Christopher Zoukis, MBA, is the Managing Director of the Zoukis Consulting Group, a federal prison consultancy that assists attorneys, federal criminal defendants, and federal prisoners with prison preparation, in-prison matters, and reentry. His books include Directory of Federal Prisons (Middle Street Publishing, 2020), Federal Prison Handbook (Middle Street Publishing, 2017), Prison Education Guide (PLN Publishing, 2016), and College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland & Company, 2014).