New Jersey Woman Claims She Was Raped by Trenton Police Officer Who Killed Himself

TRENTON, NJ, – A homeless woman has filed a civil lawsuit against the city police department, several unnamed cops, and former Officer Edward Leopardi who died by suicide last year.

In a lawsuit that was filed two weeks ago, the woman claims she was raped by Leopardi, and that other cops allowed it to happen.

Although the woman’s name is publicly listed in the lawsuit, which The Trentonian obtained through a public records request, this newspaper does not disclose the name of sexual assault victims unless given expressed permission to do so. The woman’s complaint says she was an “itinerant, displaced resident of Mercer County” at the time of the alleged rape. The woman’s attorney declined to comment for this report.

In her complaint, the plaintiff says she was walking on South Clinton Avenue around 10:30 p.m. on August 23, 2016, when Leopardi picked her up. She further states that Leopardi “ordered” the woman to get in his TPD patrol car before driving her to the K-9 school in the 1200 block of East State Street.

Leopardi then “ushered” the woman into the TPD K-9 school “in a manner meant to evade detection from the property surveillance cameras,” and then “forced” the woman to “commit various sexual acts against her will,” according to the lawsuit.

Leopardi “committed rape and other unwanted sexual acts against the plaintiff, causing physical and emotional trauma, mental anguish, post traumatic stress disorder and irreparable damage to her reputation, history and esteem,” the lawsuit says.

The complaint further states that “the police was and had been aware of a long history of derelict behavior by rogue Trenton Police officers” at the K-9 school.

“Police had not expended reasonable foresight to anticipate and prevent such derelict behavior,” the lawsuit says.

Furthermore, the lawsuit states, at least one city cop “discovered” Leopardi “engaged in various rape/sexual acts upon the premises operated by the police.”

“The police did nothing to halt said acts and was therefore negligent, being willful, wanton and egregious,” the lawsuit says. “The police did nothing to investigate, inform or reveal video images of the plaintiff recovered from the premises.”

The woman who filed the lawsuit is seeking undisclosed monetary compensation for mental anguish, emotional trauma and other damages, the lawsuit says.

Leopardi, a 22-year veteran of the Trenton Police Department shot and killed himself at his home in Franklin Township on September 21, 2016, shortly after allegations of sexual misconduct at the TPD K-9 facility were made public.

After the allegations surfaced, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed the existence of an investigation, but did not disclose the names of officers involved.

Leopardi’s estate and widow have filed a lawsuit against Mercer County, TPD, the county prosecutor’s office and The Trentonian, alleging defamation, invasion of privacy, negligence, wrongful death, and other offenses.

The police department and the city declined to comment on this report citing policy regarding litigation. An attorney for Leopardi’s estate was not immediately available for comment.