Lawsuit filed against Waverly, police department could be heard in federal court

By Gary Scott on May 14, 2015 at 12:43pm

Attorneys representing the City of Waverly and past and present members of its police department want to move a lawsuit filed against them to federal court.

The suit was filed by a 19-year-old Waverly woman following the conviction of former officer Jeremy Angelo, who was sentenced to four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections last year for having sex with the then-16-year-old-girl in 2013.

The suit names Angelo, former police chief Dave Searcy, current chief Jason Divjak, and the City of Waverly. It claims the girl’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated, and that the City of Waverly intentionally inflicted emotional distress for failing to protect her against Angelo.

The suit also says Waverly police failed to handle the previous alleged misconduct incidents.

Attorney Michael Victor says the removal notice is being filed because the woman asserted a federal claim, and his clients have a right to have that claim heard in federal court. The suit was originally filed in Morgan County Court last week.

Victor is representing everyone named in the suit except for Angelo. According to court documents, Angelo was not served with the complaint as of the filing of the removal notice.

A spokesman for the U.S. District Court in Springfield acknowledged the presence of the lawsuit in their office.

The woman’s attorney, Edmund Scanlan, says he was surprised by the removal notice. He says “we’re happy to try the case in either venue,” but that he’ll speak to his client about the matter.

The suit states damages are being sought in excess of $50,000.