Attorney Mark W. Tanner secured a $250,000 settlement against Pennsylvania State Police on behalf of a 45-year-old woman who was sexually preyed upon by a trooper whose commanders turned a blind eye as he amassed a shocking litany of sexual misconduct complaints from multiple victims and a damning trail of circumstantial evidence.
For more than two years, Michael K. Evans, now a convicted
felon and former trooper, used his position of authority to sexually abuse and
assault women and teenage girls, while his supervisors discounted his alarming behavior
and took no steps to curtail his activities, restrict his duties or provide him
with added supervision.
Tanner’s client first encountered Evans when he responded to
a 911 call that she placed regarding a knife-wielding individual in her home.
Following the incident, Evans began showing up at her house late at night, many
times after midnight, while in uniform and on duty. During his “visits,” Evans
made unwelcome sexual advances toward Tanner’s client, engaged in lewd conduct,
and ultimately coerced her into having sexual contact with him.
Although the client always made clear to Evans that his
conduct was unwelcome, she believed she could not report him to the police
because she felt that other troopers condoned his behavior by sometimes sitting
outside her home in a marked patrol car while he sexually preyed upon her.
Similarly, the client would receive telephone calls asking for Evans, and when
she would answer, the caller I.D. would indicate that the calls were
originating from the Pennsylvania State Police Barracks, while police knew that
Evans had no legitimate purpose to be at her home while on duty.
The predatory sexual behavior, which occurred over a
six-month period, ended when Evans was arrested and pleaded guilty in 2000 to
sex crimes involving three women and three girls in Montgomery County between
1997 and 1999 and was sentenced to five to 10 years in prison. Evans was
released on parole in 2008, but was subsequently sentenced to an additional 2 ½-to
five-years in prison ― the maximum sentence allowed under state sentencing
when he violated his parole by committing another sex crime involving a
15-year-old girl in Berks County. Evans was sentenced to five to 10 years in
prison after entering a guilty plea in the Berks County case.
Tanner said his client’s settlement sends a clear message to
law enforcement that inaction is never an acceptable response when faced with
misconduct in their ranks.
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