N E W Y O R K, Jan. 5, 2001 -- A third woman came forward today to say a Suffolk County police officer, who allegedly made women strip, also suggested she undress in exchange for letting her go without a citation.
Tracy Deon, a 34-year-old waitress from Rocky Point, N.Y., said she ran into Officer Frank Wright in September after she had afight with her husband. She had gone to a bar had a few drinks and pulledoff the highway in Montauk where she fell asleep.
Deon said Wright didn’t order her to strip, but “he mademe feel that if I gave him what I wanted, he would let me go.”
“He cocked his head to the right, implying that I should pullup my blouse,” said Deon. “I pulled up my blouse and he keptlooking. I then pulled up my bra and he flashed the flashlight onme.”
Earlier this week, Juliana Rubio, 19, and 27-year-old Angelina Torres, said Wright forced them to undress as a punishment for failing drunken driving tests.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner John Gallagher said that Wright, a 12-year veteran, has admitted telling one of the women that “he made men take their clothes off and walk home naked for drunk driving but that he never suggested that she do it.”
Despite the comment, Gallagher said, the officer denied actuallymaking men or women take their clothes off in the past.
Wright was suspended without pay today as an investigation into the three cases continues.
“Wemake a pledge to keep people safe in their homes and on thestreets,” Gallagher said. “If these charges turn out to be true,it will be the ultimate violation of that oath.”
Civil Rights Violations Investigated
Attorney Gary Gramer, who represents Rubio and Torres,the first woman to come forward, said the FBI is looking into possible civil rights violations. Torres andRubio are Hispanic and Deon is an American Indian.
The two women are also planning to sue Suffolk County for $15 million each.
Rubio, who could barely compose herself during a newsconference today, said, she was driving with her friends on Dec. 27 whenshe was pulled over by an officer fitting Wright’s description. Shesaid he told her friends she was being arrested for driving whileintoxicated, handcuffed her, put her in the back of the policecruiser, and drove to an empty parking lot.
“I was alone. I was so scared. He asked me if I would learn alesson with no clothes on and freezing. I’m crying and I’mscared,” she said. “He kept asking me if I thought I’d learn mylesson if I stood outside with no clothes on.”
Naked and standing outside in nothing but her socks, she said,“I didn’t know what to do. I was terrified. He stood therelaughing at me, asking me if I was cold, asking me if I wasembarrassed. He kept asking me if I learned my lesson. It was windyand cold and he kept the flashlight on me.”
“The investigations are still going on and they are following the regular course,” said Lt. William Rohrer, spokesman for the Suffolk County Police Department.
‘The Most Humiliating Experience’
Rubio came forward with her allegation a day after Torres said Wright forced her to walk home several blocks in her underwear in below-freezing temperatures after she failed a Breathalyzer test on New Year’s Eve.
After failing the test shealleges the officer ordered her into his police cruiser and drove herto a parking lot about 5 miles away.
“He said, ‘This is where I let the guys walk home buck naked,’”Torres said. When she told him where she lived, he drove her withinfive blocks of her house and told her to take her clothes off,Torres alleges.
“When I said, ‘No,’ he said, ‘You can go to jail or sithere,’” she said.
Torres then took off her evening gown and started to walk homein the snow wearing only underwear and shoes, she said. When shegot home, she called 911.
“It was the most humiliating experience of my life,” Torressaid. “I was scared. I was freezing cold.”
Gallagher said the allegations appear to involve one officer, but hewould encourage anyone with similar allegations to come forward.
“I want them to take away his badge so he can’t do this toanyone else,” Torres said in an interview Thursday. “He wanted toteach me a lesson? I hope he learns his lesson.”
Gramer said the bulk of the lawsuit was for punitivedamages “to punish the county for not running proper psychologicalprofiles, for not properly investigating.”
ABCNEWS.com’s Maria F. Durand,ABC Affiliate WABC and The Associated Press contributed to this report.