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Woman sues over alleged strip search

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Members of two central Utah law enforcement agencies have been named in a lawsuit filed by a woman who claims she was unlawfully arrested, strip searched and catheterized.

Haley Sue Owen Hooper's constitutional rights were violated when members of the Central Utah Narcotics Task Force arrested and took her to the Sevier County Jail in 2004, according to a civil lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Hooper was driving a car belonging to a man with a warrant when she was pulled over and arrested Dec. 27, 2004, according to her lawsuit. The woman refused to perform field sobriety tests and was taken to the Sevier County Jail.

At the jail, deputies performed a strip search, according to Hooper's suit.

The woman initially refused to provide a fluid sample and a warrant was obtained. At that point, Hooper offered to provide a blood sample, but deputies instead held her down and catheterized her, the lawsuit alleges.

Hooper "was half-naked, bleeding, and had several male and female strangers watching and participating in the violation of her rights," the lawsuit states. "She was physically and emotionally ill, to the point that she vomited."

Criminal charges were brought against Hooper, but a judge later dismissed the case, citing a thin pretense for her arrest.

The woman's lawsuit seeks damages to be determined at a trial.

The lawsuit names the Central Utah Narcotics Task Force, its head, Cordell Pearson, Sevier County Sheriff Phil Barney and several other officers as defendants.

Spokesmen for the sheriff's office and the narcotics task force could not be reached for comment Thursday.

E-mail: afalk@desnews.com