Woman sues Custer sheriff, alleges deputies failed to protect her from rape
CUSTER, S.D. — A South Dakota woman who was kidnapped and raped is suing local law enforcement officials who she says failed to protect her from a known threat.
The civil lawsuit names Custer County Sheriff Marty Mechaley and others in his department as well as the man convicted of attacking the woman, Harry Evans.
The Argus Leader reports the woman had a full protective order against Evans following a violent encounter at her home. Evans was arrested for violating the restraining order in September of 2017. The next day he was released and sent the woman threatening messages.
The lawsuit says the woman twice called the sheriff’s department after receiving the threats from Evans, but was place on hold both times. It says the woman eventually got through to a deputy, but he ended his shift without taking any action.
She was attacked several hours later when Evans broke into her home, drugged her, then violently raped her and kidnapped her. She was returned home and the next morning investigators found evidence that Evans intended to kill her, including a pickaxe and a tub that he placed into her vehicle.
The lawsuit says she was afraid to abandon her home, horses and dogs that night, and that deputies were told that Evans had made threats to kill her, her animals and various friends. The lawsuit also claims the woman was led to believe she could reasonably rely on protection from Custer County law enforcement, and that they had advised her against using her firearm for protection.
She says the department knew Evans had previously violated the protection order and a restraining order, and had arrested him on multiple occasions for violations — along with installed cameras at her home. The woman is seeking $2 million. Mechaley did not immediately return a call for comment.
Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com