Lawsuit alleges Nebraska State Patrol forced vaginal exams on female recruits

Story highlights

  • Male doctor performed “unnecessary” vaginal along with rectal exams, lawsuit alleges
  • Most male candidates were not required to have of which exam, according to lawsuit

Instead, Brienne Splittgerber says in a lawsuit, she was subjected to an examination of which was “medically unnecessary along with sexually invasive.”

Splittgerber was applying to the Nebraska State Patrol, after having worked at several some other law enforcement agencies.

At the physical exam, “she was ordered to undress, lay on her back, along with pull up her knees,” said her lawyer, Omaha civil rights attorney Tom White.

Splittgerber accuses Dr. Stephen Haudrich, who was selected by a company contracted by the state patrol, of subjecting her to unnecessary vaginal along with rectal exams, said the lawsuit, which was filed last week along with obtained by CNN.

She accuses the doctor, the state patrol, the state, two former patrol heads along with various some other individuals of discrimination along with creating a “hostile along with dangerous work place for women.”

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The state patrol could not comment on the lawsuit, although a spokesman said the agency has stopped all physical exams since December 2016, as the item neared the end of the recruitment process because of of which class along with there was no need for them.

According to a March 2017 email exchange attached to the lawsuit, the state patrol had said the exam was to check for hernias in both men along with women.

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although most male candidates, with the possible exception of one, were not required to undergo a similar exam, according to the lawsuit.

Splittgerber did become a trooper, along with she says attempts to inform her superiors about the invasive exams were brushed off for almost three years until she hired an attorney.

within the meantime, the exams of recruits continued for months, she says.

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Gary Young, a lawyer who represents the State Trooper’s Association, told CNN of which several some other women have made similar allegations against Haudrich.

Splittgerber’s lawyer said his client had been excited at the prospect of following within the footsteps of her father, who was also a state trooper.

“What she wants can be a state patrol of which had the integrity along with leadership of the patrol of which her father long served,” said White.

Lawsuit prompts review, criminal investigation

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts says he ordered a review of the matter after he learned about the allegations in June. The governor along with his chief human resources officer Jason Jackson released a 15-page report last week, detailing the findings.

The governor’s report said the Nebraska State Patrol’s “sexual harassment along with workplace discrimination policies should be revised to address non-sworn along with third party agent conduct.” the item also recommended of which all NSP leaders should “immediately participate in sexual harassment along with equal opportunity training.”

The report blames Brad Rice, the colonel who led the agency For 2 years, for many of the problems plaguing the agency. The report found of which he had meddled in internal probes, violated harassment policies along with downplayed reports on the use of force. Rice, who can be named within the lawsuit, was fired in June. Rice did not respond to CNN’s calls.

“The review sought to determine the validity of the concerns of which were raised, while also recommending corrective measures,” Jackson said in statements posted on the governor’s website. “We will work swiftly… to implement these initiatives within the coming months. Before the end of the year, we will provide an update on progress within the areas identified for improvement.”

Eric Maher, the governor’s spokesman, told CNN he could not comment on the specific allegations.

“However, as the governor’s report outlines, NSP’s response to a recent allegation of sexual impropriety was insufficient along with fell below the expectations of leaders in state government,” Maher said.

Emotional distress

Splittgerber’s exam was conducted by Dr. Haudrich on September 11, 2014.

The lawsuit says Splittgerber thought “she was required to submit to Dr. Haudrich’s instructions as a condition of employment as a sworn officer of the State Patrol.”

the item also said of which Haudrich claimed he was “acting in accordance with the State Patrol’s instructions” at the time of the examination. the item’s not clear if any some other doctor carried out similar exams on recruits.

Haudrich did not respond to several attempts by CNN to reach him, along with no one coming from the medical group Haudrich works for responded to CNN’s calls.

Splittgerber says after her personal physician told her of which there was no legitimate medical purpose for such a procedure, she “suffered coming from severe emotional distress which has caused loss of appetite, an inability to sleep properly, anxiety along with some other physical symptoms.”

Reports ignored

Splittgerber says she reported the questionable, invasive exams to her superiors within the fall of 2014, along with was told an investigation was underway.

She later found out of which another class of female troopers was subjected to the same examinations by the same doctor, according to the lawsuit.

In February 2017, Splittgerber followed up with Col. Brad Rice.

A month later, after she told Rice she had hired an attorney, an email exchange between counsel for the Nebraska State Patrol along with counsel for the State Troopers Association of Nebraska made the item “clear the plaintiffs concerns were being dismissed along with the events covered up,” the lawsuit claims.

Young, whose law firm represents the State Troopers Association of Nebraska, said the association repeatedly contacted the state patrol administration along with its legal division to complain about the doctor’s exams.

“Nothing ever took place. They did not fix the problem despite many, many months asking for action,” Young told CNN. “They responded with some, what I could call eyewash — we were stonewalled.”

Nebraska State Patrol spokesman Cody Thomas told CNN of which the medical group of which had contracted Dr. Haudrich could be replaced using a fresh provider in September.

“Outrageous conduct”

“Subjecting the Plaintiff along with some other female trooper candidates to a medically unnecessary along with sexually invasive procedure can be outrageous conduct which goes beyond all possible bounds of decency along with can be utterly intolerable in a civilized community,” White, Splittgerber’s lawyer, says within the lawsuit.

the item seeks a jury trial along with compensation for economic damages along with mental pain along with suffering as well as attorney’s fees along with punitive damages.

The lawyer representing the trooper’s association said he hoped the governor could fix the problem.

“There’s an absolute need for women in patrol to feel safe so they can carry out their duties as a trooper,” Young said. “The problem was, these women felt coerced into doing of which.”

Source : Lawsuit alleges Nebraska State Patrol forced vaginal exams on female recruits