A Joplin, Mo., woman is seeking civil damages from a former Worth County sheriff who was previously convicted of coercing females to expose themselves.
The woman filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against former Worth County Sheriff Neal “Bear” Groom and Worth County. The civil lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $75,000 for her costs and expenses incurred, and for such other relief as the federal court deems just and fair.
Mr. Groom, a former Worth County sheriff for eight years, pleaded guilty to coercing eight females to expose parts of their bodies, which violated the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable seizures.
A judge in 2011 sentenced Mr. Groom to 18 months in federal prison and a year of supervised probation after the defendant entered a guilty plea. The federal charges were misdemeanor offenses.
The civil complaint alleges that Mr. Groom’s demands for the victim to remove her clothing constituted an unreasonable and illegal search of the woman. The complaint also alleges Mr. Groom caused intentional emotional distress, including indignities, embarrassment, insult, outrage and mental anguish. Also, the lawsuit alleges Mr. Groom violated the victim’s right to privacy and falsely imprisoned the victim.
Mr. Groom is being held at a medical center for federal prisoners in Springfield, Mo. Typically, federal civil lawsuits of this type are tried within 12 to 18 months.
The Joplin woman is being represented by the Montee Law Firm in St. Joseph.