A young woman who was sexually assaulted by a Trumbull police officer who supervised her in a program for teenagers has filed suit against the town of Trumbull.
The woman was 15 when police said Officer William Ruscoe, a 20-year veteran and supervisor of the Trumbull Police Department’s Explorer Scout program, repeatedly sexually assaulted her.
The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court in Bridgeport, also names as defendants Ruscoe, the Boy Scouts of America and Learning for Life Inc., which at the time sponsored the department’s explorer program, and then-Police Chief Thomas Kiely.
“The plaintiff was a teenage girl who was interested in law enforcement and excited to join the Trumbull police explorer program,” said her attorney, Cindy Robinson. “Tragically, she was sexually assaulted by a supervisor of the program, William Ruscoe. He was her role model, which just heightened the betrayal and humiliation that she has experienced.”
Robinson said the Trumbull explorer program “was fatally flawed because it allowed police officers like Ruscoe to have unchaperoned contact with minors. Disturbingly, well before our client’s abuse, it was known that underage explorers like the plaintiff were at risk for sexual molestation by the police officers who were supposed to be teaching them about police work.”
She said the young woman continues to suffer emotional trauma, including ongoing nightmares, from the assaults.
Trumbull Town Attorney Dan Schopick said he has no comment on pending litigation. Ruscoe’s lawyer, Michael Fitzpatrick, declined comment because he had not seen the lawsuit.
The Trumbull Police Department’s police explorer program is now known as the Trumbull Police Cadet Post and is no longer associated with the Boy Scouts.
In January 2015, Ruscoe, who resigned following his arrest, pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault in the case and was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
During the sentencing hearing the victim told the judge, “I was completely betrayed by someone I looked up to as a role model, I still wake up in a pool of sweat after having a nightmare where I yell ‘stop’ and ‘no’ — the two words I yelled that night at him.”
That teen told State Police that Ruscoe expressed his desire to have a sexual relationship with her after she had taken her physical assessment exam with the scouts in March 2013.
She said Ruscoe began texting her that he loved her and described in detail things he wanted to do with her sexually, according to the affidavit.
In mid-June 2013, Ruscoe picked the teen up at her home and drove her to a scenic overlook near Marnick’s restaurant in Stratford, where he gave her a silver bracelet that read, ‘Made with Love,’ and then tried to kiss her, the affidavit states.
On another occasion, the teen said, Ruscoe showed up drunk at her home and groped her.
The affidavit states that in the fall of 2013 after she and Ruscoe had worked as security at the Battle of the Bands event at Trumbull High School, Ruscoe had driven her to his Trumbull home. When she balked at having sex with him, the affidavit states Ruscoe plunked his service weapon down on the kitchen counter in front of her and then ordered her upstairs to his bedroom, grabbing his handcuffs on the way up the stairs.
Once in the bedroom he pulled off the teen’s cadet uniform and, over her many protests, sexually assaulted her, the affidavit states.
Police said Ruscoe later told the teen he was concerned about getting arrested for what he did to her, but would kill himself rather than go to jail.
The affidavit states detectives found at least two dozen photos of the teen in various stages of undress on Ruscoe’s cellphone, as well as nude photos he had taken of himself.