Woman: Cops Did Forced Cavity Search in Parking Lot

Charnesia Corley says she didn't give consent for vaginal search
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2015 1:16 PM CDT

A 21-year-old Texas woman with no criminal record has accused Harris County cops of pulling her over for allegedly running a stop sign, claiming they smelled pot, then conducting a body cavity search on her in a gas station parking lot, the Guardian reports. "I feel like they sexually assaulted me," Charnesia Corley tells KTRK, adding she didn't consent to it. "It's the most serious search you can do under our constitution and should be done in a sterile environment," her attorney adds, per the Guardian. "You sure can't do it in public by the side of the road." The sheriff's office story: A male deputy pulled Corley over, thought he smelled weed in the car, placed her in his vehicle, and searched her car for nearly an hour, per the Houston Chronicle. He found nothing, then said he smelled weed in the patrol car, and called a female deputy to conduct a cavity search (a sheriff's rep says Corley consented to a strip search, per the Guardian).

That's when Corley says the worst began. The female deputy reportedly told Corley to pull her pants down; Corley says she hesitated because she was cuffed and had no underwear on. The female deputy then allegedly said, "If you don't open [your legs], I'm going to break them," per the Guardian. A backup deputy helped hold Corley's legs for the search, her lawyer says. "A body cavity search by the side of the road—I can't imagine a circumstance where that would be constitutional," an ACLU of Texas director tells the Chronicle. Even the Harris County Deputies' Organization president tells the paper the case is "kind of shocking": Protocol says deputies should bring suspects to a county substation for a cavity search or even to HQ, which has a microwave scanner. Corley was arrested for marijuana possession (cops say they found 0.02 ounces of pot, but didn't specify where) and resisting arrest; she plans to file a complaint with Internal Affairs. (This man allegedly ran a stop sign, and things unraveled for him, too.)

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