Former Texas Trooper takes Guilty Plea

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Kelly Helleson, a former Texas Highway Patrol trooper, took a guilty plea in the case against her for the roadside body cavity search of two women in Irving.  Helleson was charged with two counts of Sexual Assault, but those charges were dropped in return for her pleading guilty to two counts of Official Oppression.  She will serve two years probation and pay a $2,000 fine.  In addition, she lost her peace officer license.  If she violates probation, she will face a year in jail.

The trooper who called her out to do the search, David Ferrell, was indicted for theft by a public servant, but was acquitted of those charges.  He was not fired for his role in the search.

Originally, the Texas DPS-Highway Patrol did not take the allegations seriously and threatened to file charges on the victims.  The victims then filed a lawsuit, settling for $185,000.

 

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Texas DPS Conducts Another Roadside Body Cavity Search, near Houston (updated)

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You would have thought that the troopers of Texas DPS would have learned their lesson after the body cavity debacle in Irving where Trooper Kelly Helleson was fired and Trooper David Farrell suspended for conducting a roadside body cavity search on two women.  Helleson was also indicted for two counts of Sexual Assault and two counts of Official Oppression.  The victims settled for $185,000.

But apparently the word hasn’t gotten out to the rest of the troopers.  Two Houston area women were recently subjected to a roadside body cavity search in Brazoria County by DPS troopers and have filed a lawsuit.  The female trooper, Trooper Jennie Bui has been fired and Trooper Nathaniel Turner was suspended.  Again, the trooper did not change gloves between the searches.

Look, I understand that officers are intent on finding drugs.  Police departments have been fighting a “war” on drugs for over 40 years (and losing, but that’s another issue) and officers are rewarded for their anti-drug efforts.  I understand that people are very imaginative on where they hide their dope.  But officers need to ask themselves a question–is finding a minor amount of dope worth losing your job and potential felony charges?

Guys, it is not worth it.  If you don’t catch them this time, you or another officer will catch them later.  People that use dope are not all that bright and will sooner or later get caught.  The fact that the suspects are likely criminals does not mean that they don’t have rights, and you are betting your career on that small amount of dope.

Here, former Trooper Bui needs to be indicted, just as Helleson was.  In addition, both male officers need to be fired and charged, not just suspended.

UPDATE:

It was pointed out to me that this search occurred prior to the Irving search.  It’s just that the lawsuit was filed later.

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