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Moore v. City of Lancaster

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 26, 2018

RICHARD ANTHONY MOORE, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF LANCASTER, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          Slomsky, J.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Richard Anthony Moore brings this civil rights action against the Borough of Ephrata; the City of Lancaster, Ephrata Police Detectives Peter G. Sheppard and Graeme Quinn, Lancaster City Police Officer Matthew Odenthal, and John Does 1-10.[1] (Doc. No. 25 ¶¶ 4-12.) Moore's claim against Sheppard, Quinn, and Odenthal is in their individual capacities.[2]

         In Counts I and II of his First Amended Complaint ("FAC"), Moore alleges claims of false arrest and malicious prosecution against Ephrata Detectives Peter G. Sheppard and Graeme Quinn and Lancaster Police Officer Matthew Odenthal under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983"), in violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. (Id. ¶¶ 47 -61.) In Counts III and IV, he raises Monell claims against the Borough of Ephrata and the City of Lancaster, respectively.[3] (Id. at 9-10.) Ephrata and the City of Lancaster are located within Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

         Defendants Borough of Ephrata, Detective Peter G. Sheppard, and Detective Graeme Quinn have filed a Motion to Dismiss the FAC in its entirety. (Doc. No. 27.) Defendants City of Lancaster and Officer Matthew Odenthal have also filed a Motion to Dismiss the FAC in its entirety. (Doc. No. 28.) These Motions are ripe for disposition.[4]

         II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On or about October 2, 2014, staff members of the Lancaster County Youth Intervention Center interviewed a then-fifteen-year-old female ("Jane Roe").[5] (Doc. Nos. 25 ¶¶ 18-20; 53 at 2.) Roe said that she had consensual sex with an older male several times during summer 2014. (Doc. No. 53 at 2.) She did not know his name but indicated that her father might be able to identify him. (Id.) Roe admitted to using a synthetic drug known as K-2, which can cause delusions, prior to the interview. (Doc. No. 25 ¶ 21.) She also admitted that she had recently used methylenedioxymethamphetamine (commonly known as ecstasy) and marijuana. She was then scheduled to have an interview at the Lancaster County Children's Alliance. (Doc. No. 53 at 2.)

         On November 19, 2014, Roe was interviewed by Mary Halye, a social worker at the Children's Alliance. (Id.) She told Halye that sometime in summer 2014, she met a black male with short hair in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. (Id.) She described him as an individual in his forties who often wears a sweater, sweatpants, and brown work boots, and referred to him as "Dude" or "the guy." (Id; Doc. No. 54-2 at 6.) She stated that she met "Dude" on or about July 1, 2014 and that they had their first sexual encounter that same day at the Ephrata Motel. (Doc. No. 25 ¶ 24.) Roe remembered the July 1, 2014 date because that night, her friend was admitted to the hospital for attempted suicide.[6] (Doc. No. 53 at 2.) Roe said that she and "Dude" had sexual intercourse three times during summer 2014 at the Ephrata Motel. (Id.)

         Eventually, the Ephrata Police Department was sent this information and commenced an investigation. Sometime in January 2015, the Ephrata Police Department notified the Lancaster City Bureau of Police that Roe had reported having sexual relations with an adult male, with one incident taking place at the Marriott hotel in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. (Doc. No. 54-2 at 6.) During the course of their investigation, Ephrata Detectives Peter G. Sheppard and Graeme Quinn obtained a guest log from the Ephrata Motel. (Doc. No. 25 ¶ 25.) The log revealed that Moore was a guest at the Ephrata Motel on July 1, 2014 and July 2, 2014.[7] (Id. ¶ 26.) Sometime in February 2015, Detective Graeme Quinn of the Ephrata Police Department identified Moore as Roe's perpetrator and notified Lancaster City Police Officer Matthew Odenthal. (Doc. No. 54-2 at 6.)

         On March 10, 2015, Moore voluntarily went to the Ephrata police station to speak with Detectives Sheppard and Quinn.[8] (Doc. No. 53 at 3.) He told the detectives that he often went to the downtown Ephrata area to speak with children to discuss the Bible and that the children would call him "preacherman." (Id.) He also stated that he had spent some evenings at the Ephrata Motel. (Id.) Moore mentioned that sometime in fall 2014, at a McDonald's restaurant, someone accused him of being involved with that person's daughter. (Id.) At the interview, the detectives asked whether Moore knew Roe. (Doc. No. 25 ¶ 36.) Moore said he did not. (Id.) After they showed him a photo of Roe, Moore clarified that he had seen her before but did not know her or ever interacted with her. (Id. ¶ 37.)

         At an unspecified point during their investigation, Detectives Sheppard and Quinn met with Roe and showed her a photo of Moore, unaccompanied by any other photos of other suspects. (Id. ¶ 33.) The detectives asked her whether the individual in the photo was her rapist. (Id.) Roe said that it was. (Id.)

         On May 5, 2015, Ephrata Detective Sheppard secured an arrest warrant for Moore from a magistrate judge after submitting an Affidavit of Probable Cause. (Doc. No. 53 at 2-3.) The Affidavit states, in pertinent part, as follows:

AFFIDAVIT OF PROBABLE CAUSE
1. In October 2014, the female victim, [Roe] (DOB:03/26/99) reported to staff at the Youth Intervention Center that she had consensual sex with an older male several times over the summer of 2014. She related that she does not know his name but a friend of hers . . . may know his name and that her father may be able to identify the subject. As a result of this disclosure [Roe] was scheduled to have an interview at the Children's Alliance.
2. On November 19, 2014, an Alliance Interview was conducted by Mary Halye, MSW. [Roe] disclosed that she had met someone during the summer in Ephrata that went by the name "dude." [Roe] stated that "dude", later identified as [Plaintiff] Richard Anthony Moore, was a black male with short hair who was in his 40's. [Roe] related that she had sexual intercourse with Moore three times during the summer of 2014 at the Ephrata Motel located at 535 South State street ....
3. [Roe] relates that the first sexual encounter happened on the same night one of her friends had attempted suicide and was in the hospital. A check of hospital records indicate that her friend . . . was transported to Hershey Medical Center on July 01, 2014.
4. The Ephrata Motel maintains a guest book to document who rents rooms in their establishment along with the date and the room number. A check of the guest book at the Ephrata Motel shows that Richard Moore rented room #7 on July 01, 2014 and July 02, 2014.
5. A police records check along with a check of the landlord/tenant listings showed that Moore had lived [in] . . . Ephrata, PA., during the summer of 2014. Moore fit the description provided by [Roe] and [her friend] and both identified Moore as the person they had known as "dude" or "D." Your affiant [Detective Sheppard] and Detective Quinn met with [Roe's father]. [Roe's father] positively identified Moore as the subject he had confronted in the Lancaster McDonalds after [Roe] had pointed him out - telling [Roe's father] that Moore was the person who had raped her. [Roe's father] had spoken with Moore and asked him if he knew his daughter [Roe] - to which Moore acknowledged seeing her around but denied any contact with her.
6. On March 10, 2015, at approximately 1335 hrs, Richard Moore came to the Ephrata Police Department to speak with your Affiant [Detective Sheppard] and Detective Quinn. The non-custodial interview took place in Interview room #4 within the Ephrata Police Department. Moore related that he did frequent the downtown Ephrata area and would speak with the kids in an effort to talk to them "about the Bible and things of that nature" and that the kids call him "preacherman." He related that he also has spent some nights at the Ephrata Motel when [Moore's girlfriend] would kick him out after an argument. Moore also related that he was confronted in the fall of 2014 by someone in the Lancaster McDonalds who had accused him of being involved with his daughter. Moore initially denied knowing the victim but later acknowledged knowing her but says that he did not assault her.[9]

(Id.)

         On June 30, 2015, Moore was arrested by Ephrata police officers for statutory sexual assault;[10] involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a person less than 16 years of age; corruption of minors; and unlawful contact with a minor. (Doc. No. 25 ¶ 13; Ct. Summ., Commonwealth v. Moore, Cr. A. No. CP-36-CR-0005763-2015 (Pa. Ct. Comm. PI. Lancaster Cty2015).)

         Subsequently, on August 5, 2015, Lancaster City Police Officer Matthew Odenthal filed a Criminal Complaint supported by an Affidavit of Probable Cause to arrest Moore. (Doc. No. 54-2 at 2 -6.) The criminal complaint charged Moore with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; statutory sexual assault; unlawful contact with a minor; and corruption of minors. (Id. at 4-5.)

         Officer Odenthal's Affidavit of Probable Cause states, in pertinent part, as follows:

AFFIDAVIT OF PROBABLE CAUSE
I. That in January of 2015, the Lancaster City Bureau of Police were notified by Ephrata Police Department that [Roe] reported having sexual relations with an adult male and that one occurrence happened at the Marriott Hotel in Lancaster, PA.
II. That [Roe] was interviewed at the [REDACTED] ¶ 19 November 2014. During that interview [Roe] referred to the person who had committed theses [sic] acts as "dude" or "the guy". [Roe] stated that "the guy" was known to her from the Ephrata area. The two met in a men's bathroom at the Marriott Hotel located at 25 S. Queen Street, Lancaster PA in August/September of 2014 (the beginning of the school year). The guy made her [have] . . . sexual intercourse ... on the bathroom floor. [Roe] described him as a tall black male with short hair who often wears a sweater, sweatpants and brown work boots.
III. That in February of 2015, Detective Graeme Quinn, Ephrata Police Department notified this affiant that he had identified the [sic] "the guy", as Richard Anthony MOORE, B/M/49, D.O.B.: 12/20/1965.
IV. That the victim was [REDACTED] years old and the defendant was approximately 48 years old at the time of the incident and the two were not married to each other. The sexual acts performed on and with [Roe] tended to corrupt her morals.[11]

(Id.)

         On the same day, Moore was arrested by Lancaster City police officers for statutory sexual assault and the related charges. (Doc. No. 25 ¶ 14.)

         The charges in both cases were consolidated for trial in the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County. (Id. ¶ 45.) On or about November 3, 2016, Moore was acquitted of all charges following a jury trial. (Id.)

         In this case, Moore alleges that despite the allegations within the four corners of the probable cause affidavit, he was unlawfully arrested by both the Ephrata police and the Lancaster police because neither Detective Sheppard nor Police Officer Odenthal had probable cause to arrest him. (Id. ¶¶ 13, 14.) In this regard, he alleges in his FAC and in his response to Defendants' claim that there was probable cause to arrest him, first that Ephrata Detectives Sheppard and Quinn improperly ignored the fact that Roe had used a delusional drug prior to her interview with the Lancaster County Children's Alliance and therefore her allegations should have been deemed too unreliable to support the probable cause. (Id. ¶ 22.)

         Second, Moore alleges that Roe had "accused numerous individuals of raping her over the course of her life, including family members. In fact, in the report produced by Lancaster Children's Alliance, the Alliance noted that [Roe] had made a number of similar, false accusations in the past." (Id. ¶ 19.) He claims that Roe's history of alleged false reports should have been disclosed in Detective Sheppard and Officer Odenthal's respective Affidavits of Probable Cause. (Id¶22.)

         Third, he avers that Detectives Sheppard and Quinn improperly showed Roe a single photo of him with no other photos, unduly prompting her to identify him as her rapist. (Id. ¶ 33.) He claims that they "told and/or inferred to [Roe] that they identified the man in the photo as her rapist and asked her to confirm such." (Id.)

         Fourth, Moore asserts that Officer Odenthal relied on Ephrata Detective Sheppard's Affidavit of Probable Cause, which was based on untrustworthy information, and acted with deliberate indifference because he failed to conduct a reasonable and independent investigation into the alleged incident at the Marriott Hotel in Lancaster. (Id. ¶¶ 42-44.)

         Lastly, Moore claims that the Borough of Ephrata developed and maintained policies, practices, procedures, and customs which reflected "deliberate indifference to the Constitutional rights of persons including the use of illegal photo arrays" while Lancaster City did so by exhibiting "deliberate indifference to the Constitutional rights of persons including the use of third-hand ...


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