Victim of convicted officer seeks civil damages from police department

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Aug. 26, 2008, 5:26am

GALVESTON � A former Galveston police officer recently convicted by a Galveston County jury of aggravated kidnapping is now the target of a federal lawsuit.

Kenneth Deshun Woods, who is currently serving 40 years in prison, is accused of violating the civil and constitutional rights of Dickinson native Jeanna Sue Bouras when he raped her on a Galveston beach, court documents say.

Bouras filed the suit before the Southern District of Texas on May 23, 2008. In addition to Woods, the city of Galveston and the Galveston Police Department are co-defendants.

The lawsuit has been updated about 10 times since its inception with U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore inking a memorandum and order regarding discovery motions for summary judgment and analogous motions to dismiss two weeks ago.

Bouras states in the suit she was alone on Galveston's East Beach on or around the evening of May 27, 2006, when Woods, 29, pulled up in a police car and ordered her to get inside the vehicle.

"Officer Woods then drove Ms. Bouras to a secluded area of the beach and sexually assaulted her," the lawsuit says.

Bouras claims she was coerced into committing several sexual acts with Woods, and was even handcuffed at one point. Court papers say she discarded her underwear after the ordeal.

The plaintiff went back to Dickinson and informed her boyfriend of the situation. They subsequently returned to Galveston to file a complaint.

An investigation ensued in which Woods was successfully identified from a photo lineup, tried, and found guilty of aggravated assault with intentional bodily injury and sexual assault.

Woods was stripped of his job and peace officer license and is incarcerated in the Texas Department of Corrections' Beto Unit in Palestine.

Bouras states the incident left her battered and bruised as well as humiliated, stressed, and fearful.

"Plaintiff would further show that, in addition to the pain, injury, and wounds she suffered from the aggravated sexual assault, defendant's actions caused her to suffer fear, humiliation, embarrassment, emotional distress, and mental anguish," the lawsuit says.

The city is blamed for its "failure to properly train, supervise, test, regulate, discipline, manage, investigate or otherwise control its employee (Kenneth Deshun) Woods."

The police department is lambasted for "implementing a policy of avoiding, ignoring, and covering up complaints, including those relating to physical and sexual abuse by officers."

Bouras, who is represented by Houston attorney Joseph W. Walker, seeks punitive and exemplary damages and a jury trial.

Case No. 4:08-CV-001649

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