Woman Awarded $3 Million After Being Sexually Assaulted by Alabama Deputy

A woman was awarded $3 million after suing a former Bibb County deputy who was convicted for sexually assaulting her in his office at the sheriff’s department in 2013.

The case has garnered local and national attention, after Ervin Lee Heard was mentioned in the popular “S-Town” podcast that centered on the Alabama county.

Susie Walker was awarded the multi-million dollar consent judgement on February 5 by U.S. District Judge David Proctor for an incident in 2013, when Walker said Heard forced her to perform oral sex in exchange for not taking her to jail.

Heard, who represented himself in the civil case, agreed to the judgment.

She filed the federal civil suit in June 2015 on several counts including assault and battery, custodial sexual misconduct, sodomy and sexual abuse, sexual harassment, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, cruel and unusual punishment, and violation of the fourth amendment.

Heard was convicted of criminal charges in December 2015 of several sex crimes for a string of similar incidents against several women, including Walker. He was convicted of custodial sexual misconduct, first degree sexual abuse, second degree human trafficking, intimidating a witness, unlawful imprisonment and harassing communications. Heard severed six months months in jail.

Walker testified at the criminal trial.

“A woman should never be in a position where a person of authority is pushing themselves on her and making her feel like she doesn’t have a choice,” one of her attorneys Victor Revill, of the Revill Law Firm, said. “It’s offensive to me, and it’s offensive to all the good law enforcement officers trying to do their jobs.”

Court records state that in June 2013, Walker and her friend were driving from Selma to Birmingham when they hit a roadblock in Bibb County. When officers asked Walker for her driver’s license, she admitted she did not have one. Police asked her and her male friend to step out of the car, which they did. Heard told Walker to get in the back of his patrol car, while another officer stood with Walker’s friend.

Records state during a search of the car, deputies found marijuana in the car. When Walker told Heard the drug was hers, he encouraged her to blame her friend. Heard told Ms. Walker that he, ‘always tries to help his black brothers and sisters out,’ records state, because he thought Walker’s friend was white because of his light complexion.

Heard asked Walker why she was wearing form-fitting clothes, records state, and asked if she was a prostitute. Walker adamantly denied being a prostitute, and said she was dressed in formal clothes because she had just left a party. Heard then said he “didn’t know what he was going to do with her,” and took Walker back to the sheriff’s office. Other officers remained on the scene with Walker’s friend.

Once at the sheriff’s department, Walker said Heard took her into his office and locked the door. Records state he asked Walker “What can you do for me to make me feel good?”

According to court records, this is what happened at the sheriff’s department: “Ms. Walker knew at that point something terrible was about to happen to her. Heard then commented, ‘You can either go home or go to jail, it’s your choice.’ She sat helpless as Heard unbuckled his belt and lowered his pants. He put his hands on Ms. Walker’s shoulders and pushed her down to her knees in front of him. He shoved his penis into Ms. Walker’s mouth and forced her to perform oral sex on him. When Heard was satisfied Heard tossed Ms. Walker a paper towel and told her, ‘Clean yourself up.'”

While the assault was happening, records state deputies at the roadblock released Walker’s friend. He then drove to the sheriff’s department to look for Walker, and once he got there, he banged on the locked door and yelled for Walker. Heard wrote Walker a ticket for not having a valid driver’s license, made her write down her cell phone number, and let her go.

“To force someone on you like that… a vulnerable woman… and then, to have the audacity to give her a citation after?” Revill said. “It’s disgusting.”

Heard harassed Walker through text messages and phone calls, records state, until she gave her phone to law enforcement.

Walker was traumatized by the incident, Revill said, and it created a sense of distrust of law enforcement. “He used his size and his position, and abused them both,” Revill said.

Another attorney from the Revill Firm who represented Walker, Megan Garcia, said while the $3 million judgement is fair, “there’s no amount of money that can ever fix the situation.”

Revill agreed. “We still have not received justice… you can pay all the money in the world, but you can’t give her justice. You took something from her she can’t get back,” he said. Walker’s moving on, but her attorneys said that doesn’t mean she had healed.”[A victim is] never ok, you can never pay back this debt. She’ll never be okay.”

“Sexual assault shouldn’t be allowed in any capacity, but let alone a police officer doing it,” Garcia said. “No woman ever deserves that.”

Heard was mentioned in the first episode of the “S-Town” podcast as being a police officer who sexually abused women he pulled over. John B. McLemore tells podcast host Brian Reed, “And after this dude got arrested–you know that recent email I sent you about that Ervin Lee Heard that had been basically falsely imprisoning women and using them for sex slaves? No one talks about that.”

Source: http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2018/02/woman_receives_3_million_judge.html