A mother of two who was pulled over in Texas with marijuana in her car claims she was raped by a jail guard after her arrest.
Emma Lopez-Pound, 26, of Katy, says the alleged sexual assault in March at the Harris County Jail turned her life into a living nightmare, leaving her unable to maintain her job as a fitness instructor and has been regularly seeing a psychiatrist. She also takes medication for potential exposure to HIV and won’t go outside alone.
“I feel like when I look at my body, it’s not mine,” Lopez-Pound said. “I don’t even like looking at me … I feel like I’m losing my mind.”
The woman’s attorney filed a six-count civil rights lawsuit in federal court in Houston on Friday, alleging Lopez-Pound was victimized by false arrest, excessive force and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The lawsuit, which does not identify the alleged attacker and seeks unspecified damages, was filed against her arresting police officer in the Katy Independent School District, as well as the city of Katy, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and unidentified deputies.
Attorney Mike Edwards said Lopez-Pound reported the assault to jail staffers shortly the March 1 incident, just hours after she had been pulled over and told an officer she had a small amount of marijuana in her car to treat seizures, according to police bodycam footage obtained by KTRK.
“We need [Gonzalez] to investigate this as throughout as if this were his mother or daughter, and we need full discovery in how to implement policy changes that those who are sworn to protect and serve are doing just that, and not harming those they have charge over,” Edwards told the Houston Chronicle.
In an earlier interview with KTRK, Lopez-Pound recalled the moment she claims the guard raped her inside a holding cell.
“After he asked me to get up and put me up against the wall and handcuffed me, he pulled my pants down and pulled his pants down and I froze,” she said. “I asked him not to do it. He said, ‘If I say anything, he would do it again, and I wouldn’t be able to say anything.’”
A rape kit was later collected after Lopez-Pound was released from jail, according to the station.
Gonzalez, meanwhile, has promised “swift, strong action” if the allegations are proven true.
“Every inmate in our jail deserves to feel safe,” he posted on Twitter Friday. “I give my word that we will devote every necessary resource to investigate an allegation that a female inmate was sexually assaulted by an employee. We will take swift, strong action if the evidence supports it.”
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