Woman files lawsuit in alleged deputy-groping incident

March 23, 2012 4:44:29 PM PDT
There are new developments in the case of a deputy accused of inappropriately touching a woman during an arrest.

The woman making the accusations has filed a lawsuit, and she wants $150,000 for deprivation of civil rights, physical injury and mental anguish.

But the suit is not against the deputy accused of touching her. She's suing Harris County and the deputy's former boss.

Harris County Precinct 3 Constable Ken Jones says he's not sure why he's the target of a lawsuit filed in federal court this week.

"No way would I have hired anyone that I have any doubts about," Jones said.

At issue is former Deputy Constable Christopher Kerr, who, as we first reported last year, is accused of pulling over a female driver on the Sam Houston Tollway near John Ralston Road for not having an EZ tag. And while detaining her in his squad car, the woman says Deputy Kerr handcuffed her and then proceeded to grope and fondle her.

She says Kerr then placed his hands under her skirt and fondled her.

The traffic stop, her lawsuit alleges, lasted about 30 minutes. But there is not any video record of it, because video of the incident was erased from the camera in Kerr's patrol car.

The constable says the video was not erased, rather they found that Kerr turned off the recording equipment and was fired because of it during their investigation of him.

"I hate it that it happened. I wish it hadn't. I don't know the details. I wasn't there. I do know both sides of the story and that's all I have," Jones said.

But it's not the first time Kerr was fired from Precinct 3. A year before the alleged groping, the constable let him go for violating policy during off-duty work by spending time at home instead of on the job.

"It had nothing to do with moral turpitude, it had nothing to do with anything criminal. It was strictly, he violated my policy," Jones said.

Months later, the constable says he gave Kerr a second chance.

The lawyer for the woman says, "The truth is, when Constable Ken Jones rehired Officer Kerr, he put a sexual predator back out on the street in a constable's uniform."

"What is he basing it on? There was nothing in his past to indicate that. So no, that's not a fair statement at all," Jones said.

There is a criminal case pending against Kerr. The Harris County District Attorney's Office says it remains under investigation and will be resolved by the end of grand jury testimony, which is next Thursday.


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