CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – A federal judge has ruled that Canfield investigators had probable cause in arresting an 11-year-old girl on rape charges, clearing them of any wrongdoing after the charges against the girl were later dropped.
The parents of the girl, now 14, sued the city, police department and investigators for $5 million, alleging investigators pursued the case because of political connections even after they learned the accusations were false. The parents alleged in a 2013 lawsuit that their daughter was questioned for five hours about allegations that she raped three female friends. According to the lawsuit, the charges were only dismissed after one of the accusers told police they conspired to get her in trouble.
In a summary judgement filed in U.S. District Court last week, a judge ruled that officers had probable cause to arrest the girl based on the statements of her accusers. The judge said at the time of the initial interviews with accusers, their statements were found to be believable.
The parents sought damages for what they said were illegal search and seizure laws, a malicious prosecution, abuse of power, false imprisonment and the infliction of emotion distress.
Canfield Police Chief Chuck Colucci released a statement Monday on the ruling:
We are pleased with the Court’s ruling in this case and firmly believe that our officers acted appropriately. However, we will reserve further comments regarding this case out of respect for the individuals and families involved in this matter as well as the legal process,” he said.