Mohave County Prosecutor Says He Dropped Case Against Female Informant Following Allegations of Sex Abuse by Tribal Cop; Woman Filed Federal Complaint
A Mohave County prosecutor tells New Times today that he dropped meth charges against a woman working as an informant following allegations that a police officer sexually abused her.
As we reported on Friday, Erika Solem of Bullhead City is suing Mohave County and the Mohave County Attorney's Office, Deputy County Attorney Michael McGill, and two officers with the Fort Mohave Tribal Police Department over the alleged abuse. She'd agreed to work for the authorities after being caught with 14 grams of meth, which subjected her to a possible prison sentence of five to 15 years.
One of the tribal police officers, Detective Jeffrey Sohmer, verbally and physically abused her, and he once raped her after a drive into the desert, she and her Flagstaff attorney, Ryan Stevens, claim in the federal complaint. Another officer, John Lavus, made inappropriate comments toward her and was present during some of Sohmer's abuse, the complaints states.
We called McGill and the tribal police department on Friday for comment.
McGill says today that he's not sure what happened to Solem and did not launch an investigation into her accusations, as her lawsuit states. However, McGill tells us that after Solem's lawyer contacted him with the allegations, he did call a sergeant at the police department to get the officers' side of the story -- and wasn't satisfied with the department's response.
"I didn't hear what I needed to hear to quash the rumors," McGill says. He adds that it didn't seem as though the department was being as "forthcoming" as it should have been, considering the weight of the accusation.
Because of the police department's tepid reaction, McGill canceled the county's written agreement with Solem and dropped her charges, even though she hadn't finished her work as an informant.
New Times left an additional message with the Fort Mohave cop shop this morning, but still haven't heard back.
Solem may not be Snow White, but her story of abuse has enough specific details to put questions to the tribal police.
Problem is, they're not giving us any more answers than they gave McGill. We'll let you know if they offer explanations for Sohmer's alleged behavior.
Courthouse News Service published a piece on the case today, with a link to a copy of the complaint.
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