Lawyer: Harris County jailer raped Katy woman after pot arrest
A traffic stop in a Katy school zone ended with a young woman taken to the Harris County jail, where she alleged she was raped by a jail guard in holding cell, according to her attorney.
Emma Lopez, 26, was driving home in early March, when a Katy ISD police officer pulled her over for speeding. The officer smelled marijuana in her car, and found a small amount of the drug, and arrested her.
Court records show the incident took place in a school zone, near Morton Ranch Elementary School.
“Unfortunately, you’re going to jail today,” the officer said to Lopez, in videos of the arrest obtained by KTRK.
Lopez was taken to Harris County jail and booked on a misdemeanor drug possession charge. During her stay, a guard raped her, her lawyer said.
On Friday, Lopez referred questions to her attorney, Mike Edwards, who said he has filed a federal lawsuit against the sheriff’s office on her behalf.
Edwards said he was particularly concerned because he said Lopez reported the assault to jail staff shortly after the incident happened.
“The fact she reported this in the jail, and no procedures were followed to confirm or refute (what happened) — that’s egregious in itself,” the attorney said.
A spokeman for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said the agency was investigating the incident.
“Investigators have interviewed the victim, reviewed video recordings from inside the jail, and are taking all other necessary steps to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted,” spokesman Jason Spencer wrote, in an email. “The investigation is ongoing, and no charges have been filed at this time. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office takes these allegations seriously, and we are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all inmates entrusted to our care.”
Spencer said that the first time the sheriff’s office learned of the alleged assault was on March 2, after Lopez was released and went to a nearby hospital and reported the incident.
The assault was alleged to have taken place in the jail’s inmate processing center, a very busy area where persons arrested by various agencies are brought to be processed into jail. .
“We have not received adequate information to identify any potential suspect at this point,” he said.