Lawsuit details former Ripley officer's sentence - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Lawsuit details former Ripley officer's sentence

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • UPDATE: Power Restored to Over 400 in Raleigh County

    UPDATE: Power Restored to Over 400 in Raleigh County

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:33 PM EDT2014-09-01 16:33:12 GMT
    Emergency crews are responding to a downed tree on the 300 block of Stovall Road in Glen Morgan Monday (9/1) morning.
    Emergency crews are responding to a downed tree on the 300 block of Stovall Road in Glen Morgan Monday (9/1) morning.
  • Update: Names Released in Deadly Crash in McDowell County

    Update: Names Released in Deadly Crash in McDowell County

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:54 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:54:18 GMT
    Fatal Car Accident in McDowell CountyFatal Car Accident in McDowell County
    Two people were killed in a car crash Sunday, August 31. Troopers at the Princeton detachment of the West Virginia State Police said three people were traveling from Cheers in Princeton back home to Northfork when they crashed on Route 52 near Switchback. One man and one woman were killed and one man was sent to Bluefield Medical Center. Troopers told us in a statement made by the survivor, the man said the driver was drunk and driving too fast on wet roads when they lost control of the car.T...
    Two people were killed in a car crash Sunday, August 31. Troopers at the Princeton detachment of the West Virginia State Police said three people were traveling from Cheers in Princeton back home to Northfork when they crashed on Route 52 near Switchback. One man and one woman were killed and one man was sent to Bluefield Medical Center. Troopers told us in a statement made by the survivor, the man said the driver was drunk and driving too fast on wet roads when they lost control of the car.T...
  • Update: New Information Released in Raleigh County Murder Investigation

    Update: New Information Released in Raleigh County Murder Investigation

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:48:36 GMT
    Joe Collins is arrested on murder chargesJoe Collins is arrested on murder charges
    The Raleigh County Sheriffs Office made an arrest Sunday after a man was murdered in Glen White.Joe Collins was arrested and is being charged with 1st degree murder for the shooting and killing of Larry Totten.The incident occurred Sunday morning at Mr. Tottens residence.
    The Raleigh County Sheriffs Office made an arrest Sunday after a man was murdered in Glen White.Joe Collins was arrested and is being charged with 1st degree murder for the shooting and killing of Larry Totten.The incident occurred Sunday morning at Mr. Tottens residence.

A former Ripley police officer  is sentenced to a year in federal prison after admitting to using his department-issued camera to film sex acts involving a minor.

His victim alleges his superiors knew what was happening and did nothing to intervene.

The young woman, who now is about 19 years old, is seeking unspecified damages from George Michael Puskas II, 31, and the Ripley Police Department, whose members she alleges "had actual and constructive knowledge" of his conduct.

Puskas, who resigned from the police force in May 2012, was sentenced Dec. 9 to a year and a day in federal prison for possessing child pornography. He also will be under supervision for 10 years after his release and will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Puskas admitted to investigators that he'd established a sexual relationship with the girl in March 2010, when she was just 16, and that he'd used a police-issued camera to take pictures of her in the nude. Goodwin also said Puskas produced a video of the underage girl having sex or performing sex acts.

Puskas said he maintained a relationship with the girl until she turned 18 and also admitted sending her a picture of the two of them having sex in September 2011, Goodwin said.

The West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force seized the computer, flash drive and other items Puskas used to produce the videos and photographs on April 6, 2012, Goodwin added.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Charleston, alleges Puskas stalked the young woman from the age of 12, initially "texting and calling (her) incessantly" and showering her with gifts. The lawsuit goes on to say that a few years later, Puskas began sending her nude pictures of himself and demanded the same from her.

Puskas took the girl to a hotel for the first time shortly after her 16th birthday, the lawsuit continues, and from that point on, he regularly photographed her without clothes, videotaped her in sexual situations and allegedly forced her to engage in a variety of sexual acts, "even at times handcuffing her to the steering wheel" in order to have intercourse, the suit says.

The suit also alleges Puskas routinely showed up at the girl's school in the morning and insisted she spend the day with him. The suit suggests those school day assignations ended only after the police chief instructed Puskas to either stop or be fired.

The suit also claims that Puskas would require the girl to meet him while he was on duty. 

"These meetings were very numerous and would entail sexual acts and/or pictures and/or videos," the suit states, suggesting Puskas' supervising officer was frequently present for at least some portion of the meetings and "knew ... what Puskas was doing with her, including sexual acts and photographs at a minimum. At no time did said Supervisor intervene on behalf of (the girl)."

The lawsuit also suggests Puskas routinely used department-issued equipment, including his cruiser, handcuffs, gun, stun gun, digital camera and computer, to intimidate and control her. The suit also suggests Puskas threatened the girl with physical harm and even death when she tried to end the relationship.

It complains the threats continued after the girl and her boyfriend fled Ripley and that her boyfriend, on several occasions, reported Puskas' behavior to his superiors and co-workers, but they did not investigate.

The young woman alleges Puskas' superiors demonstrated "deliberate indifference" to his conduct with her. "All said conduct occurred to a great extent while defendant Puskas was ‘on duty' and accomplished through the use of (his) police-issued equipment and vehicle," the lawsuit says.

The woman is represented by Charleston attorney Henry E. Wood III.