Virginia State Police and the commonwealth claimed immunity this week from a million lawsuit for more than $20 filed by a Manassas woman who claims a former trooper took advantage of her.
Jane Doe filed the lawsuit in January 2004, charging William A. “Buck” Carter with raping and sodomizing her. Doe was 20 and living in Manassas with her parents at the time of the offense, according to newspaper accounts.
Carter was never criminally charged with either offense. He pleaded guilty to bribery in May 2002, after Doe, who had sex with Carter in return for his not filing a drunken driving charge against her, turned him in to his supervisor.
In her lawsuit, Doe sought $5.35 million from Carter and the commonwealth for rape, sodomy and battery, $5.35 million from Carter and the commonwealth for false imprisonment, $5.35 million from Carter and the commonwealth for intentional infliction of emotional distress and $5 million from the commonwealth and state police for retaining Carter.
Doe claimed that the state police knew or should have known about Carter’s conduct.
“Investigation has revealed that at the time [of the]… incident and for a substantial period of time [before] it was common knowledge among the law enforcement community in Northern Virginia … that Carter had a propensity for stopping an inordinate number of young women for purported traffic offenses. It was also known that many of these young women had complained of suffering undue harassment and humiliation at the hands of Trooper Carter. The State Police clearly did not take sufficient measures, if any, to prevent Carter from continuing such conduct,” Daniel J. Morisette, Doe’s attorney, wrote to Virginia Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore.
In defenses filed Wednesday, Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter R. Messitt denied the claims in Doe’s lawsuit and invoked a defense called sovereign immunity, meaning the government cannot be sued in its own courts without its consent.
Messitt wrote that because Doe seeks more than $100,000 from the state, sovereign immunity bars her lawsuit. Additionally, Messitt wrote that the state isn’t liable for Carter’s alleged actions since the actions were outside the scope of his employment with the state police.
Messitt asks Prince William Circuit Court to dismiss Doe’s lawsuit and award the state the cost of defending itself.
On Jan. 9, 2002, Carter pulled over Doe on suspicion of drunken driving on Liberia Avenue, near Richmond Avenue.
“During the course of questioning the plaintiff pursuant to the traffic stop, Carter began threatening plaintiff she would go to jail if she did not cooperate with him,” according to her motion for judgment.
Carter had her car towed, then drove her to Prince William-Manassas Adult Detention Center for a Breathalyzer test. The Breathalyzer test showed a 0.05 percent blood alcohol level, according to newspaper accounts.
“Carter informed plaintiff that such a blood level would make it easy for him to see to it that she went to jail for 12 months. Carter then indicated to plaintiff he would release her on condition that she meet him outside the jail upon her release,” according to Doe’s lawsuit.
Carter presented the woman with a court summons, then drove her to the Weichert Real Estate office on Sudley Road where he also worked. After sexual contact at his office, Carter told the woman she could throw the summons away. She later presented it to his state police supervisor.
A court date has not been scheduled for the lawsuit.