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Local News

June 21, 2013

Centerville police officer and city face charges in federal lawsuit

DES MOINES — A Centerville police officer and the city of Centerville are named as defendants in a lawsuit that alleges an officer violated rights and maliciously charged a Centerville woman after she refused to allow an examination on her then-12-year-old daughter to collect evidence for a possible sexual abuse case.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff says she, her husband and a doctor deemed the test was medically unnecessary and that no sexual assault had occurred. The complaint then alleges that a police officer fabricated statements and charged the plaintiff with felony and aggravated misdemeanor charges in an attempt for retribution for the refusal of the procedure.

The felony and aggravated misdemeanor charges were dismissed April 2011 by court order.

Now, Centerville Police officer Kenneth Reistroffer and the city of Centerville will be defending themselves against a lawsuit filed in federal court by Heather Dawn Huebner, of Centerville, on Jan. 22 this year. The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages in addition to legal fees in what the plaintiffs call “conscious shocking” actions on the part of the officer.

The plaintiff also says in the complaint that the city is also liable because of a failure to train, instruct, supervise, control and discipline police officers.

Centerville Police Chief Tom Demry responded to a telephone call from the Daily Iowegian Thursday afternoon.

"We appreciate your inquiry," Demry said. "We don't agree with the allegations and claims in the complaint and our attorneys are actively defending the city and it's officer in this lawsuit. I would like to say more but it is our policy not to comment on pending litigation, especially when it involves current department personnel."

The lawsuit is based on events that allegedly occurred in mid-February 2011.

According to the lawsuit filings, Reistroffer believed that the 12-year-old daughter of the plaintiff, Huebner, was the victim of a sexual assault.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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