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Lynne Curtin’s Daughter Alexa Curtin Is Awarded $2.25 Million In Traffic Stop Rape Case!

Alexa Curtin is getting millions in her traffic stop rape case victory. A jury ordered Orange County to pay $2.25 million to the daughter of former Real Housewives of Orange County star Lynne Curtin, who was sexually assaulted by a former sheriff's deputy while he was on duty, reports Patch.

Closing arguments were heard on Friday, August 4 for Alexa Curtin, who claimed that she was raped by an Orange County Sheriff's Deputy who pulled her over in Dana Point in April 2014, only two months after another woman accused the same deputy of sexual assault.

The jury found that the county was liable because of a sheriff’s department policy that allowed former deputy Nicholas Lee Caropino to stay on patrol duty, and remain in contact with the public, even as he was under criminal investigation for the first sexual assault allegation, reports OC Register.

Curtin’s lawsuit alleged that in April 2014, sheriff’s deputies came to the home of Curtin’s then-boyfriend after the couple got into an argument. According to the lawsuit, Caropino drove Curtin to her car, which was parked nearby. Once there, the deputy made inappropriate comments about her underwear, which he found in her car, and ordered her to stay put. She alleged he then returned to the scene, in his vehicle and out of uniform, got into the passenger seat of her car, and raped her. Curtin was 22 at the time.

NOTE: The following story contains graphic details of the events of the traffic stop in question.

The deputy allegedly told Curtin to disrobe, which she did because she "feared for her own safety," the lawsuit alleges.

The deputy groped her while commenting on her anatomy, then pulled his pants down and ordered her "to straddle him," the lawsuit alleges.

"While in this position, the deputy had non-consensual sexual intercourse with plaintiff," the lawsuit alleges.

After the deputy completed the sex act, he asked Curtin for her cell phone number before leaving "so he could text her and in order to do this again," according to the lawsuit. "Still afraid, Curtin gave the deputy a wrong number."

Curtin "was violated, traumatized, emotionally drained, in shock, and fearing for her own safety," the lawsuit states." Specifically, plaintiff feared that given the deputy's position, he would find her and harm her again."

Two months prior, in February 2014, a then 18-year-old San Juan Capistrano woman made similar accusations against Caropino, alleging the deputy came to her home following her release from jail in September 2013 and sexually assaulted her there.

Curtin’s attorneys argued that the county was partially responsible for Caropino’s second alleged assault due to a sheriff’s department policy that stalled the agency’s internal probe while a criminal investigation was underway. That policy meant Caropino was not placed on leave until nine months after the first sexual-assault allegation, said Jeremy Jass, one of Curtin’s attorneys.

“The problem is, during those nine months, he was in the field,” Jass said. “And it was during those nine months that he raped Ms. Curtin.”

The lawsuit alleges Curtin's civil rights were violated through unreasonable seizure and denial of due process and she was the victim of abuse of authority. The lawsuit faults the county for alleged poor training and oversight.

The sheriff’s department did not immediately respond to questions about whether the department would reconsider its policy.

A District Attorney criminal investigation into Caropino’s conduct resulted in no charges.

However, the judge in the civil trial told jurors that there was no question the rape occurred, and that their job instead was to determine if the sheriff’s department’s policy contributed to it. The judge said there was no evidence to dispute Curtin’s testimony because Caropino invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when he was asked about the incident.

County supervisors authorized lawyers to fight Curtin’s case in February, rather than settle. Supervisor Todd Spitzer said Friday that the county didn’t settle because Curtin, who sought $40 million in her lawsuit, wanted too much money.

But Spitzer, who is running for district attorney, also criticized the sheriff’s department’s policy on internal investigations. He urged Sheriff Sandra Hutchens to begin putting deputies on leave when a criminal investigation is launched.

Orange County spokeswoman Carrie Braun said the county didn’t condone “the alleged conduct of former deputy Caropino.”

The sheriff’s department issued a notice of dismissal to Caropino in Aug. 2015, according to court documents obtained by OC Register.

Daniel K. Balaban, another of Curtin’s attorneys, said his client also wants the sheriff’s department to change their practices.

“She’s very pleased with the verdict and is hopeful that they’ll change their policy so this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” Balaban said. “It’s been a very long and exhausting process for her.”

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