A woman in Texas is claiming sexual assault after a routine traffic stop turned into a body cavity inspection at the hands of a local county sheriff’s office.
“I feel like they sexually assaulted me!” 21-year-old Charnesia Corley says. “I really do. I feel disgusted, downgraded, humiliated.”
Corley, of Spring, Texas, says she was pulled over by a Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy on June 21, while on her way to purchase medication for her mother.
The deputy told Corley she ran a stop sign, but then noted he smelled marijuana in her vehicle and asked her to step out.
Handcuffed in the parking lot of a gas station, Corley sat in the back of the deputy’s squad car until he completed a search of her vehicle, which came up empty handed.
In a twist, the deputy returned to his patrol car and insisted it now smelled like marijuana.
Corley waited as a female deputy was summoned to conduct a more thorough search.
“She tells me to pull my pants down. I told her, I said, ‘Ma’am, I don’t have any underwear on.’ She says, ‘Well, that doesn’t matter. Pull your pants down,'” Corley said.
According to Corley the female officer grew more aggressive and threatened violence for noncompliance.
“She throws me on the ground by my car and tells me, ‘Open your legs.’ I told her, ‘No, I’m not going to open my legs.’ So she says, ‘Well if you don’t open them I’m going to break them.’”
“I bend over and she proceeds to try to force her hand inside of me. I tell her, ‘Ma’am, No. You cannot do this,'” a distraught Corley recalled to KTRK News.
“And all I could do was just lay there. I felt helpless.”
While Corley says at no time did she give officers consent, a Harris County Sheriff’s spokesperson says an arrest report shows she told officers she would undergo a “strip search if I needed to.”
Corley’s attorney, Sam Cammack, says there’s no question that conducting an unwarranted cavity search at a gas station in full public view was a violation of his client’s civil rights.
“It’s undeniable that the search is unconstitutional,” Cammack told KTRK.
Corley was subsequently charged with possession of marijuana and resisting arrest, a charge which KTRK notes is at odds with the department’s claim that she gave consent to the search.
“Investigators say they found .02 ounces of marijuana on her,” reports KTRK, though they do not indicate where it was located.
Last year, a Texas State Trooper was sentenced to a year in jail and fined $2,000 after a judge found she sexually violated two women in a similar incident in Dallas in 2013. The women, who claimed Trooper Kelly Helleson performed a cavity search on both of them using the same latex glove, were awarded nearly $200,000 after winning a federal civil rights lawsuit.