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Judge dismisses woman’s lawsuit claiming Utah deputy sexually assaulted her during traffic stop

By Gretel Kauffman, KSL | Posted - Dec 13th, 2019 @ 6:45am



SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit claiming a Duchesne County sheriff’s deputy sexually assaulted a woman during a 2011 traffic stop.

The lawsuit, first filed in U.S. District Court in June 2012, accused former deputy Derek Dalton of “sexually groping and fondling” Veronica Wopsock, a member of the Ute Indian Tribe. Duchesne County and former sheriff Travis Mitchell were also named as defendants.

On Thursday, more than seven years after the lawsuit was first filed, Judge Robert Shelby dismissed Wopsock’s claims with prejudice, meaning the case cannot be filed again.

In the lawsuit, Wopsock claimed that Dalton assaulted her after pulling her over north of Roosevelt on Sept. 4, 2011. But recorded video of the traffic stop from the camera in Dalton’s patrol vehicle did not show evidence of a sexual assault, and state investigators later determined that the allegations were unfounded.

Meanwhile, Dalton filed a counterclaim against Wopsock and the Ute Indian Tribe in September 2012, describing the allegations against him as “meritless, unfounded and outrageous.”

The counterclaim accused Wopsock and other members of the Ute tribe of suing Dalton “in order to obstruct justice by threatening, harassing and intimidating Dalton from enforcing the laws of the state of Utah against Wopsock and other members of the Ute Indian Tribe.”

Dalton’s attorneys argued that the lawsuit had been filed because of a dispute over citations that Dalton had issued to Ute tribal members. Duchesne County Justice Court had also issued a warrant for Wopsock’s arrest in May 2012 after she failed to appear at a hearing for the citations Dalton had issued against her, according to the counterclaim.

Dalton’s counterclaim was also dismissed Thursday as a result of the dismissal of Wopsock’s lawsuit, though he is able to refile his claims if he so chooses.

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