South Florida Cops Ordered to Pay $6.2 Million
One South Florida cop forced a woman to perform oral sex on him before raping her on the hood of his car under threat of arrest.
The second cop ordered the woman’s female friend to punch him in the genitals, which is what got him off.
Now Franklin Hartley and Thomas Merenda, who have since by fired from the Lauderhill Police Department, have to pay the women $6.2 million after a federal judge ruled against them in a civil trial last week.
But the former cops may never be able to pay that amount considering they are still facing criminal charges that may send them to prison.
And even if they don’t get convicted in their upcoming criminal trial, they will still likely not be able to pay that amount unless they happen to win the lottery or something.
But they will never be able to live those debts down by filing for bankruptcy, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams ruled on Thursday.
So they will likely have their wages garnished for the rest of their lives, not to mention have their property and assets seized. A steep price to pay for 90 minutes of coerced action in a vacant parking lot four years ago.
But because they never retained lawyers or responded to the civil suit, the judge took the women’s claims as truth.
And that will likely be used against them in their upcoming criminal trial.
Merenda’s lawyer in the criminal case, Eric Schwartzreich, said his client did not hire an attorney to represent him in federal court because he could not afford it.
“Getting water from a rock is going to be difficult in the collection process,” Schwartzreich said. “You can get a judgment but you gotta be able to collect. He doesn’t have anywhere near that type of money.”
Before the alleged rape, Hartley had served five years as a cop and Merenda had served 11.
Investigators later found Jane Doe 1’s underwear at the scene and GPS data supported the women’s claims that the encounter took place behind a closed tire shop on Commercial Boulevard and lasted more than 90 minutes, according to the lawsuit.
Included in Jane Doe 1’s award was $75,000 in compensatory damages against Hartley “for his attempts to intimidate her after her sexual battery,” court documents show.
The judge in Hartley’s criminal case rebuked Hartley for the same thing last October. He found Hartley had violated the terms of his release on bond by calling Jane Doe 1 at the restaurant where she worked.
As a result, Hartley was placed on house arrest and ordered to wear a GPS monitor to track his whereabouts. He is allowed to leave home for work and certain errands and activities.
The incident took place on May 24, 2012 after Hartley pulled the two women over after they had left a strip club, where they had been drinking. He ordered them to follow him to the parking lot where he then called Merenda.
Hartley, 36, was ordered to pay $4.5 million. Merenda, 38, was ordered to pay $1.7 million.
Both have pleaded not guilty for their upcoming trial.