Two Women Say Police Forced Them to Strip

A second Long Island woman has come forward with allegations that a Suffolk County police officer forced her to strip naked because he said she failed a drunken driving test.

The latest allegation, from 20-year-old Juliana Rubio, comes one day after Angelina Torres, 27, said Officer Frank Wright forced her to walk home in her underwear in below-freezing temperatures after she failed a Breathalyzer test on New Year’s Eve.

Wright, a nine-year veteran assigned to the highway patrol bureau, was placed on administrative duty Jan. 1 pending the outcome of an investigation.

Gary Gramer, an attorney representing Torres in a $15 million lawsuit against the county and the police department, said Rubio called his office Wednesday.

Rubio did not know the officer’s name, Gramer said, but her description of the officer involved matched Wright’s.

Gramer notified police of Rubio’s complaint and filed a second lawsuit against the police and the county, asking for $15 million in punitive damages for Rubio.

Suffolk County police today confirmed investigations are being conducted into both cases.

“The investigations are still going on and they are following the regular course,” said Lt. William Rohrer, spokesman for the Suffolk County Police Department.

A third woman also made similar claims, according to a newspaper report. Newsday said the accusation came from an anonymous caller who said an officer had also told her to strip but she refused.

Rohrer said he could not confirm the report.

‘The Most Humiliating Experience’

After having a fight with her boyfriend on New Year’s Eve, Torres left a bar in New Jersey without him. She drove to Long Island but pulled over to the side of the highway to cry, she said.

Wright pulled up to check on her. After she admitted she had had two glasses of champagne, Torres said, he administered three different sobriety tests. He said she failed one, handcuffed her and placed her in the back of his patrol car, her attorney said.

After driving around for almost a half-hour, Wright stopped the patrol car near her home and ordered her to strip to her underwear and walk four or five blocks to her home, Torres said.

“It was the most humiliating experience of my life,” Torres said. “I was scared. I was freezing cold.”

Suffolk Police Commissioner John Gallagher said Wright does not dispute that he stopped Torres or that she removed her dress but he said, “Why she took it off is the disputed issue.”

Rohrer said an investigation was launched shortly after Torres’ family called the Suffolk County Police Department to make a complaint, but refused to comment further on the case.

Rubio, who lives in Ridge, told a similar story, saying a police officer stopped her just off the Long Island Expressway on Dec. 27. The officer gave her a Breathalyzer test, told her she had failed, and then drove her to a diner parking lot in Farmingdale, Gramer said.

After parking, the officer ordered Rubio to strip naked and made her walk around in front of him, allegedly telling her, “I’m going to teach you a lesson,” the attorney said.

Her attorney said the bulk of the lawsuit was for punitive damages “to punish the county for not running proper psychological profiles, for not properly investigating.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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