An unnamed woman who claims she was coerced into having sex with a former Faribault police officer while she worked as a confidential informant has sued the city.
The woman, who filed a lawsuit using the initials S.H., alleges that drug-related charges against her were dismissed after Detective Robert Vogelsberg contacted her to meet him in what she believed was an undercover police vehicle in mid-2010, where he told her that if she became an informant and had sex with him, her case would “disappear.” She alleges that the officer coerced her into having sex with him 30 to 40 times over the next year.
Vogelsberg, who resigned from his position amid an investigation in late 2011, is also named as a defendant in the suit along with former police chief Daniel Collins.
Vogelsberg resigned while an investigation was being conducted by “an outside private investigative agency,” according to a city statement released then.
State law prohibited the city from releasing “any additional data with regard to Officer Vogelsberg’s employment with the city, the internal complaint or the investigation,” the statement said.
The city released a separate statement Wednesday saying it is reviewing the suit and gathering information to determine appropriate action.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, alleges that Vogelsberg emphasized to the woman that she had to continue meeting with him to “work off her case” and contends that he said he could make charges against her or her family members go away. The suit says he provided her with money, marijuana and pain pills in exchange for sex and information.
The suit alleges that Vogelsberg sent the woman explicit text messages asking for nude photos and talking about her performing oral sex. In June 2011, the father of the woman’s child found nude pictures on the woman’s phone that she had sent to Vogelsberg, the suit said.
Law enforcement authorities were notified, and Vogelsberg was put on administrative leave pending an investigation.
The suit’s claims against the city include negligent supervision of Vogelsberg.
Attempts to reach Vogelsberg were unsuccessful. A woman answering a phone listed for Collins said they were not interested in speaking.
The attorney for the woman, Frederick Goetz, said the suit was filed recently because “many times with victims of sexual abuse, it takes a long time for them to come to grips with what happened and come forward, and she’s now gotten to a point in her life where she’s brave enough to do it.”