Third sexual misconduct suit filed against former Dunbar cop

By Lawrence Smith | Sep 9, 2010


CHARLESTON -– For the third time this year, a former Dunbar police officer is accused in a civil suit of using his authority to gain sexual favors from women.

Raymond O. Conley, and the city of Dunbar are named as co-defendants in a five-count personal injury, and negligent supervision lawsuit filed by Lindsay Runnion in Kanawha Circuit Court. In her complaint filed on Aug. 31, Runnion, 23, a Charleston resident, states that, while working as a Dunbar police officer, Conley arrested last year her on false pretenses, and promised to release her in exchange for having sex with him.

Records show it was following this incident that Conley was charged with violating Runnion's civil rights, a charge for which he was convicted of earlier this year.

Encounter launches investigation

According to the suit, Conley stopped Runnion on July 17, 2009, and searched her under the pretext she was carrying a concealed weapon. Though he did not find one, Conley did find a small quantity of marijuana, and arrested her on drug possession charges.

Thereafter, Conley took Runnion to an undisclosed location in or near Dunbar. Upon arrival, Conley said he would release her, and not press charges if she had sex with him.

Records show after the encounter, she reported it to federal authorities. Following his indictment via information in October on a felony charge, Conley, in December, plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating Runnion's civil rights.

In April, Conley, 40, was sentenced to one year in prison, and another year of supervised probation. As a condition of his guilty plea, Conley resigned from DPD, where he obtained the rank of sergeant, and surrendered his law enforcement certificate.

In her suit, Runnion incorporates the facts to which Conley stipulated as part of his guilty plea. Though the U.S. District Court did not order Conley to make any restitution to her, she maintains she is entitled to it since Conley knew his actions were illegal.

The city, Runnion, alleges, is no less culpable since they knew or should have known about Conley's actions, but did nothing to stop him. In her suit, Runnion makes claims against the city for negligent supervision, training and retaining, assault and battery against Conley and negligent infliction of emotional distress against both.

Along with unspecified damages, interest, attorney fees and court costs, Runnion seeks a court order prohibiting the defendants from "influencing and/or intimidating witnesses," and from engaging in any retaliatory acts against her. She is represented by former Kanawha County Prosecutor William C. Forbes, and W. Jesse Forbes, with the Forbes Law Offices in Charleston.

The case is assigned to Judge Charles E. King.

Third suit in four months

In addition to Runnion, two other women have come forward and accused Conley in civil suit of sexually intimidating them.

In her suit filed nine days before his conviction, Lora Beth Farley alleged Conley waited for her to get off work in Jefferson early on Saturday, April 11, 2009. After following Farley and her boyfriend from Jefferson and through Dunbar, Conley stopped them near the Montrose Road exit on Interstate 64 in South Charleston, and arrested her on a 2007 capias from a domestic dispute she had with her mother in September 2006.

Conley, Farley alleges, 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 grant his request to flash her breasts fearful of the consequences if she didn't.

Farley was still taken to the South Central Regional Jail 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.

In a suit filed in July, Megan Lanham accused Conley and two other Dunbar police officers of repeatedly harassing her between April and June 2008. During this time, Lanham alleges Conley, and Officers Elliott and Moss, would congregate outside her apartment sometimes on a daily basis.

When she rebuffed his sexual advances, including asking her to show him "identifying marks" on private parts of her body, and have dinner with him, Lanham alleges Conley arrested her on charges of possession of marijuana. The charges were dismissed in Dunbar Magistrate Court on the condition she leave the city for six months.

Records show both Conley and the city of Dunbar filed their answer to Farley's and Lanham's suits on Sept. 1. Through their attorney, James A. Muldoon, with the Charleston law firm of Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown and Poe, they deny the allegations, and assert they are "immune from liability because [Conley] acted at all times with probable cause and in good faith performance of his duties."

Kanawha Circuit Court, case numbers 10-C-1568 (Runnion), 10-C-1241 (Lanham) and 10-C-687 (Farley)

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