Two other suits pending against Dunbar, Conley for misconduct

By Lawrence Smith | Jul 16, 2010

CHARLESTON - A harassment suit filed by Charleston resident Megan Lanham is the third filed this year alleging misconduct against former Dunbar police officer Raymond O. Conley.

The first was filed on March 17 by Cross Lanes resident Raymond D. McCormick II who alleged he suffered bruising to his torso, and rib contusions after Conley slammed him against his vehicle before arresting him for DUI a year earlier. Despite complaining of pain, he alleges Conley proceeded to respond to domestic violence call, with McCormick in the back of Conley's police cruiser, before taking him to the Dunbar Police Department for a secondary breathalyzer test.

Though McCormick was charged with one count each of second offense DUI, and driving on a suspended license for DUI in Kanawha Magistrate Court, the charges were dismissed when Conley failed to show for McCormick's Oct. 29 bench trial.

It was at that time that Conley was indicted in U.S. District Court on one count of information on a felony charge of depriving someone of rights under the color of law. The charge stemmed from a stop Conley made on July 19, 2009, on an unidentified woman for suspicion she was carrying a concealed weapon.

Though a weapon was not found, he did find a small amount of marijuana on her, and placed her under arrest. However, instead of taking her to DPD for booking he took her to a remote area, and had sex with her. After their encounter, he released her, and did not press charges.

After agreeing to plead guilty in December to a misdemeanor charge of violating the woman's civil rights, in which he agreed to resign from DPD, and surrender his law enforcement certificate, Conley was sentenced on April 21 to one year in prison. Judge Thomas E. Johnston ordered Conley to an additional year of supervised probation following his release in May 2011.

Nine days before his conviction in federal court, a Charleston woman filed the second suit against Conley. Like the unidentified woman, Lora Beth Farley alleges Conley arrested on her for the sole purpose of gratifying a sexual need.

In her suit, Farley alleged that Conley waited for her to get off work in Jefferson early on Saturday, April 11, 2009, where he followed she and her boyfriend, Aaron Urban, up U.S. 60 through Jefferson and Spring Hill, across the Dunbar toll bridge, through Dunbar and onto Interstate 64 where he stopped them near the Montrose Road exit leading to South Charleston. Eventually, Conley arrested Farley on a 2007 capias from a domestic dispute she had with her mother in September 2006.

As they proceeded to the South Central Regional Jail, Farley alleges Conley invited her into the front seat of his cruiser, and said he would let her go if she had sex with him. Though she refused, she did fulfill his request to flash her breasts fearful of the consequences if she didn't.

Farley was still taken to South Central where she spent the weekend. She was released when it was discovered that the capias was recalled after Kanawha Magistrate Kim Aaron dismissed the case on March 19, 2008 when Farley's mother failed to show for the bench trial.

Both McCormick's and Farley's suits name Conley and the city of Dunbar as co-defendants.

Records show, the city and Conley filed an answer in McCormick's suit on May 20. Though their attorney Johnnie E. Brown, with the Charleston law firm of Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown and Poe, they deny the allegations, and assert a defense that, among other things, they are "immune from liability because they acted at all times with probable cause and in the good performance of their duties."

An answer has yet to be filed in Farley's case. Records show the city was served with the summons and complaint on June 23.

Kanawha Circuit Court case numbers 10-C-512 (McCormick) and 10-C-687 (Farley)

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