Bullhead City Woman Claims Tribal Detective Sexually Assaulted Her During Work as Drug Informant

 

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​A Bullhead City woman who worked as an undercover informant claims in a federal lawsuit that she was sexually abused repeatedly by a Fort Mohave Tribal Police detective.

Erika Solem alleges in her 46-page federal complaint that after she was caught with 14 grams of crystal meth during a traffic stop in 2008, Detective Jeffrey Sohmer began using her to make undercover drug buys under the promise that she'd be allowed to plea to lesser charge.

After making a few buys in February 2009 with Sohmer and another detective, John Lavus, the two men began to make inappropriate, sexually charged comments. Sohmer once groped Solem's breasts as the behavior escalated, she claims. She states that she didn't report the abuse out of fear that the detectives would make her legal problems worse.

Then, in April of 2009, she went with Lavus and Sohmer to meet Michel McGill, a prosecutor with the Mohave County Attorney's office, where Solem was told she was being charged with crimes that would put her away for five to 15 years -- unless she agreed to do more work as an informant. At the advice of her attorney, she signed an agreement penned by McGill that bound her to do more work as an informant for the Mohave Area General Narcotics Enforcement Team in return for a sentence of probation. The agreement required her to be in contact with Sohmer at least three times a week.

That's when the abuse really took off, Solem claims. After a drive to the desert, Sohmer forced her to perform oral sex on him, but gave up after a few seconds when he saw she was in distress. On another occasion, Sohmer stripped off her clothes and raped her, she claims. Over the next several weeks, Sohmer continued badgering her sex, kissing her without her consent and once pulling her shirt off in front of Lavus.

Solem contacted a lawyer she knew, who then reported the abuse to McGill of the county attorney's office.

According to the lawsuit, McGill launched an internal investigation, during which Sohmer allegedly "admitted to his illegal conduct." Because of the abuse, the lawsuit states, McGill dropped all of the charges against Solem.

We left a message for McGill just before 5 p.m. this evening. A Fort Mohave police official says she'll pass along a message to Sohmer and Lavus.

Ryan Stevens, the Flagstaff attorney Solem hired for the federal case, tells us he can't say much about the case -- except that Solem's claims are credible.

Solem's seeking $75,000 in compensation, plus punitive damages. We'll update this one after hear back from the Mohave County Attorney's Office.

 

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19 comments
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Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

It's what her lawyer thinks they can get without going to trial. He's not going to take a case and sue for an amount that a jury would think is too much for a drug dealer and then possibly lose the case. They want to settle and he'll still make 25 or 30 grand for not doing anything except preparing and filing the suit. Besides that, his paralegal does all the work. The informant has no power and cannot force the issue. The tribe will want to get rid of it as a nuisance suit because they can afford 75 grand and then they can fire the officers involved but not before the suit is settled. If they took any more action against the officers now it would show past knowledge and they would be culpable, which would make for a bigger lawsuit.

Shadow Wolf
Shadow Wolf

W.C. I don't think the tribe has any jurisdiction in Bullhead City. So its not in the tribe's best interests, in spite of the fact that a tribal LEO is involved. My only assumption is that the woman isn't wise enough to make such legal choices. I believed there was other options on the table along with a higher settlement. But they only gave her one and made it sound like it was the only way to make it all go away quicker. Without the hassles of all the court stuff and legalities involved. Its sad that women are still discriminated against in the AZ judiciary system.

Good luck to the lady.

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Coz
Coz

75 graqnd is all, should be $750,000.00

Ryffster
Ryffster

Tempe PD is hiring. They'd love to hire these two perverts. They're just what Chief Tom Ryff is looking for.

Native Guns
Native Guns

What's your beef with Tempe PD and Chief Tom Ryff? I was thinking of the outlaw criminal enterprise--PLEA and Mark Spencer. After all, they are known defenders of criminal cops.

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Rurubean
Rurubean

He raped her and all she is seeking is $75,000.00?????? Wtf?? if what she says is true 7.5 million would be more appropriate..

AK-to-47
AK-to-47

She's a low life meth-head you dummy. What do you expect from rural backwoods junkies like that? They have always been cheap. Its all a part of their great redneck tradition.

Guest
Guest

AK47 - Do you really need to keep reminding people how many racists live in Arizona?

Bill
Bill

My thought exactly.

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