A Burbank family has sued the Burbank Police Department and the Burbank Unified School District, alleging their teenage daughter was illegally interrogated after her identity was confused with that of a friend who reported an allegation of sexual molestation.
The lawsuit, filed in June in Los Angeles County Superior Court, also names several police department and school district officials and seeks unspecified damages, the Burbank Leader reported.
City and district officials declined to comment on the specifics of the case, but did say they have procedures in place to respond to allegations of sexual abuse.
On Sept. 7, 2010, the plaintiff, who was 16 at the time, accompanied a long-time friend to the counselor's office at John Burroughs High School to report that the friend was being molested by her older brother, according to the lawsuit. A short time later, Burbank police officers arrived, asked the plaintiff to hand over her cellphone and began questioning her.
The officers refused to allow the plaintiff to contact her parents, and then placed both students in squad cars in full view of classmates and transported them to the police station, according to the lawsuit.
Once there, the officers allegedly confused the identities of the two girls, and began questioning the plaintiff about her family, specifically what her father and brother looked like. The family also claims the officers asked their daughter what schools her younger siblings attended, saying that they would be brought to the station as well.