Crime & Courts

Woman sues Pickens P.D. for sexual assault by former officer

Robert Sapp
Robert Sapp

An Upstate woman is suing the City of Pickens and its police department, alleging officials were negligent when they employed an officer with a history of misconduct who later sexually assaulted her.

Kristy Wooten accused Robert Sapp, a former Pickens Police officer, of abusing his position of authority, when he ordered her to the side of a laundromat in June 2014, where he fondled her. Sapp was arrested in October 2014, and charges are still pending in the case, according to court records.

Wooten initially approached Sapp with information, when he allegedly threatened he would arrest her if she didn’t follow his orders to walk over to the side of the laundromat, according to the complaint filed in circuit court on Monday.

Though Sapp denied assaulting Wooten, an investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division found his DNA on her and that he had “inappropriately and unlawfully” touched her.

The lawsuit accuses the city and the police department of negligence for failing to institute proper policy and appropriately supervise Sapp.

Wooten’s attorneys, Rep. Justin Bamberg, D-Bamberg, and Shane Burroughs, are also holding the city liable for failing to address prior complaints of improper conduct filed against Sapp. They claim the department’s lack of action allowed for Sapp to continue his pattern of behavior without fear of repercussion.

Sapp, who is also named in the lawsuit, is also accused of battery, assault and civil rights violations.

A request for comment from the City of Pickens and its police department was not immediately returned.

Cynthia Roldán: 803-771-8311, @CynthiaRoldan