The La Vergne Police Department in Tennessee has dismissed five police officers and suspended three others in connection to an alleged sexual assault scandal.
A federal lawsuit against the department has been filed by Maegan Hall, one of the police officers, alleging that she was 'groomed for sexual exploitation'.
Prior to the commencement of the internal investigation into Hall's allegations, the eight officers were disciplined earlier this week.
In connection to the La Vergne Police Department sex scandal in Tennessee, Hall, aged 24, was the sole female police officer who was terminated.
In January of this year, Hall was dismissed, and following an internal investigation, it was discovered that she and other male officers had engaged in sexual activity while on duty and later denied the accusations.
According to WSMV and CBS affiliate WTVF, the inquiry indicated that Hall was romantically involved with four other officers, namely Sergeant Lewis Powell, Sergeant Henry Ty McGowan, Detective Seneca Shields, and Officer Juan Lugo-Perez, who were all terminated.
Furthermore, Patrick Magliocco, Larry Holladay, and Gavin Schoeberl were suspended for their participation in the police department's sex scandal.
The lawsuit outlines that five of the officers - Powell, Magliocco, Holladay, Shields, and Lugo-Perez - have confessed to having sexual intercourse with Hall.
Furthermore, Hall has acknowledged engaging in sexual activities with the aforementioned five officers along with an additional officer, McGowan.
After allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in connection to the scandal, Hall has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against her former coworkers and the department.
On Monday (27 February), the lawsuit was filed, naming the city of La Vergne, Powell, McGowan, and Davis as defendants, and claiming that Hall was subjected to sexual harassment while being groomed for 'sexual exploitation'. The complaint asserts.
"Maegan Hall felt trapped in the role assigned to her at the City of La Vergne Police Department and, in an attempt to escape, she nearly killed herself," the lawsuit reads.
"Then, the City blamed her for everything. This lawsuit seeks justice for Maegan Hall."
The lawsuit further describes that the workplace environment was rampant with sexual innuendos and sexually explicit conduct, which Hall encountered regularly.
Earlier this month, La Vergne Police Chief Burrel 'Chip' Davis was terminated as it was discovered that he was aware of the sexual misconduct occurring within his department but failed to report or discipline any of the officers involved.
"Maegan wasn't looked at as a rookie cop to be trained and promoted. She was looked at like a piece of meat to be sexualized and exploited," said civil rights attorney Wesley Clark with Brazil Clark PLLC.
Clark explained that despite Hall rejecting the sexual advances on multiple occasions, her superiors persisted in pressuring her until she acquiesced.
"There are going to be those who say they are consenting adults, and she is trying to place the blame elsewhere. It is easy to think that when you don't know the whole story," he added.
The lawsuit claims that the officers: "Colluded in using their authority to systematically disarm her resistance and entrap her in degrading and abusive sexual relationships — even sharing tips on the best ways to manipulate and exploit her."
"When Sgt. Powell wanted sex, he refused to take 'no' for an answer. He continued demanding sex, saying things like 'We'll do it tomorrow,' or 'I've done so much for you, I've helped you,' and 'I've done so much for you in your personal life'," the lawsuit stated.
It continues: "The sexually coercive environment on the second shift at the La Vergne Police Department triggered increasingly severe symptoms of mental illness in Ms. Hall."
"Ms. Hall is entitled to an award of punitive damages against defendants Powell, McGowan, and Davis in an amount to be determined by a jury for the acts committed with malice or reckless disregard described in this complaint."