Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Romano v. Young

March 27, 2009

KAREN ROMANO, IN HER INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, AND LEGAL GUARDIAN OF MINOR CHILD, SIERRA CARDWELL PLAINTIFF
v.
CHRISTOPHER S. YOUNG, DEAN CERAUL AND PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Golden, J.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Karen Romano ("Romano") brought this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on behalf of herself and her minor child, Sierra Cardwell ("Cardwell"), claiming that Cardwell was sexually assaulted on numerous occasions by Defendant Christopher S. Young ("Young"), a former Plainfield Township police officer. Plaintiff has also filed a § 1983 claim against Defendant Dean Ceraul ("Ceraul"), the Chief of the Plainfield Township Police Department and against Plainfield Township for, inter alia, failing to verify Young's credentials before hiring him, failing to prevent Young from committing the alleged sexual acts and failing to adopt or maintain proper policies and procedures.

The amended complaint consists of five counts brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and four state law counts. Count One is asserted against Young under § 1983 for violation of Cardwell's substantive due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. Counts Two through Five are asserted against either Ceraul or Plainfield Township under § 1983 for violations of Cardwell's civil rights. Count Six is a state law claim asserted against Young for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Count Seven is a state law claim asserted against Young for assault and battery. Count Eight is a state law claim asserted against Young and Ceraul for defamation and Count Nine is a state law claim asserted against Young and Ceraul for invasion of privacy. Presently before the Court is the motion of Young for partial summary judgment as to Counts One and Seven of the amended complaint and the motion of Ceraul and Plainfield Township for summary judgment. The Court held oral argument on these motions on February 19, 2009. For the reasons which follow, both motions will be granted.

Young was employed by Plainfield Township as a police officer. Complaint at ¶ 11. He was 27 years of age when the alleged incidents took place. Cardwell lived with her mother, stepfather and younger brother. Young and his wife were neighbors of Romano and Cardwell. Id. In fact, the Romano family and the Young family were friends, routinely visited each other, had picnics together and celebrated holidays together. Cardwell Dep. at 22; Young Dep. at 283. The Romanos and the Youngs socialized with each other approximately 100 times in a year. Young Dep. at 283. Cardwell knew Young was a police officer. Young and Cardwell had sexual relations approximately five times beginning in May of 2005 through August of 2005. Cardwell was 14 years of age at the time of the first sexual episode. She turned 15 years of age on July 15, 2005. Prior to the first sexual episode with Young in May of 2005, Cardwell had been sexually active with two different teenage boys and was in fact already pregnant. Cardwell Dep. at 12, 16-20, 55.

On the evening of December 31, 2004, Romano and her husband went out to celebrate New Year's Eve. Because Cardwell and three female friends were at the Romano house alone, the Romanos requested that Young stop by to check on Cardwell and her friends. Young Dep. at 188,192; Rohn Dep. at 28. Young drove his police truck to the Romano residence, arriving at approximately 12:00 a.m. He was in full uniform, with his badge displayed and his service revolver in his waistband. Cardwell Dep. at 226. He also had a tattoo of a K-9 dog on his arm. Id. at 224. Young made a number of sexual remarks to each of the girls and at one point, inappropriately grabbed Cardwell's buttocks and breasts. Cardwell Dep. at 47.*fn1

In May of 2005, Cardwell attended a party at Young's home. Young and Cardwell were sitting around a camp fire in Young's backyard when Cardwell decided she wanted marshmallows. At approximately 10:00 p.m., Young offered to take her to a local grocery store in his blue pick-up truck. On the way back, Young stopped at a gas station and began to kiss Cardwell. He then asked her to perform oral sex on him. Cardwell complied. Pennsylvania State Police Incident Report ("PSPIR") at 2. Young was off-duty, not in uniform and wearing mesh shorts during this encounter. Cardwell Dep. at 34-38.

A few weeks later, Young called Cardwell and picked her up at her house, in his blue pick-up truck at approximately 2:00 a.m. Cardwell Dep. at 56. Young drove to a nearby housing development, parked his truck and had intercourse with Cardwell. PSPIR at 4. Young was off-duty, not in uniform and was wearing shorts at the time of this episode. Cardwell Dep. at 57.

On July 4, 2005, Young attended a picnic at Cardwell's home. Young and Cardwell left the party in Young's Mustang to get beer. Young again drove to the housing development and parked the car. He subsequently received oral sex from Cardwell inside the car. Young was off-duty, not in uniform and wearing shorts at the time of this encounter. PSPIR at 3. Young did visibly carry his badge in his shirt pocket. Cardwell Dep. at 221.

One evening in August 2005, Young was off-duty and was the disc jockey at a graduation party for Michael Orchulli. After returning home from the party, Cardwell sent Young a text message and asked Young whether he wanted to go out. In response, Young picked Cardwell up at her home, in his blue pick-up truck, at approximately 4:45 a.m. Young drove to a nearby kidney treatment center and parked his truck. Young and Cardwell had vaginal and oral sex in Young's truck. Young was not in uniform during this episode. Cardwell Dep. at 59.

Later that same month, Young picked Cardwell up at her home, in his blue pick-up truck, at approximately 2 or 3 a.m. Young drove to a nearby farm and parked the truck. Young brought his personal police scanner with him in the truck which he listened to for a while. Cardwell Dep. at 60-61. Young and Cardwell had intercourse in Young's truck. Young was not in uniform and did not make any threats to Cardwell. Id. at 60.

Young testified at his deposition that he never had sexual relations with Cardwell while on police duty, while in his police uniform, while carrying a police issued gun or any other type of police equipment. Young Dep. at 279-280. He further testified that he never had sexual relations with Cardwell in a police vehicle or on public property. Id. Cardwell herself testified that she never had sexual intercourse or performed oral sex on Young when he was in uniform.

Cardwell Dep. at 166-167. Young also testified that he never contacted Cardwell on his police issued telephone or pager. Young Dep. at 280.

From May 15, 2005 until July 31, 2005, Cardwell sent 99 text messages to Young's personal cell phone and made 24 calls to Young's personal cell phone. Cardwell Dep. at 142. In fact, Cardwell testified that she had Young's name saved in her cell phone as "POPO" which was short for police. Id. at 223. She also called Young's home a few times. Id. at 98.

Sometimes Young would wait for Cardwell at her bus stop in his police car with his police dog in the back and ride alongside Cardwell as she walked home from school. Id. at 169, 229. Young once gave Cardwell a t-shirt that said "K-9 police officer on the back" and "police officer" on the front. Id. at 230.

In her diary, Cardwell wrote the following pertinent entries: Oh My God you will never guess what happened! I went up to Chris and Bonnies for a little camp fire. And I was complaining that there were no marshmallows. So Chris said he would take me to the store. I didn't think anything of it so I went with him. He was very sexual toward me in a way it felt kind of nice. I always had a crush on him...On the way home he pulled over and started kissing me. I went along with it. Chris asked me to go down on him so I did....He told me not to tell anyone....

Cardwell Diary ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.