The Canfield Police Department has responded to a federal lawsuit, which claims an 11-year-old girl was held for questioning for about five hours and charged in a rape case.
The girl later was acquitted; now her family is seeking at least $5 million.
The department acted “entirely in accordance with its obligation and with the utmost professionalism given the extremely sensitive nature of the case,” states a Thursday news release from the city of Canfield.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court by Michael and Renee Rubesich, of Willow Bend Drive, against Anissa Modarelli, an assistant county prosecutor assigned to juvenile court; Canfield Police Chief Chuck Colucci, Detective Brian McGivern, Sgt. Scott Weamer and officers Timothy Lamping and Lea Byers; the city of Canfield; and 20 John Doe defendants who the suit says are police officers, detectives, supervisors, in-charge officers or commanders.
The city will be defending itself and its officers against the “erroneous allegations,” the release states.
“It should be noted, however, that statements in the complaint related to the conduct of members of the city’s police department appear to be completely fabricated and not based on reality of the actual facts surrounding the investigation in any measure,” the release states.
Colucci said insurance covers the police department in the event of a lawsuit and an attorney would be chosen through the insurance.
The charges arose when “a well-connected political player” told former Canfield Police Chief David Blystone on April 16, 2012, that his daughter and two other 11-year-old girls said they were raped by the plaintiffs’ daughter; and Blystone told Colucci, who “applied political pressure” on McGivern to pursue the case, the lawsuit says.
“Defendants knowingly prosecuted an innocent person” and violated her constitutional rights, according to the lawsuit filed by Attys. Steven M. and J. Michael Goldberg of Solon and Atty. Robert F. DiCello of Mentor.
On April 20, 2012, the officers questioned the Rubesiches’ daughter for about five hours without food, water or rest as she was falling asleep on her mother’s lap, despite her consistent denial of the charges, and jailed her on multiple rape counts without probable cause through April 24, 2012, the suit says.
One of the accusers recanted and gave officers information “that showed the three accusers conspired to fabricate their allegation,” the suit says.