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Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Island Park arrest leads to sexual abuse lawsuit
Herald File Photo
Jenny Hannigan was arrested by Nassau County police officers in Island Park two years ago. Now she charges in a lawsuit that one of the officers sexually abused her in the back of the patrol car.

A Baldwin woman who claims she was sexually abused by a police officer in the rear seat of his patrol car after she was arrested in Island Park 2½ years ago has filed a federal lawsuit against him and his partner, as well as a detective sergeant and other unnamed police officers, for failing to fully investigate her charges.

Early on the morning of June 10, 2011, Nassau County police officers Rachel Miller and Gary Zima arrested Jenny Hannigan, then 27, on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. They handcuffed Hannigan and put her in the back of a squad car, and, the suit alleges, Zima got in the back seat with her.

Hannigan claims that Zima put his hand up her dress while Miller drove them back to the 4th Precinct station in Hewlett. “He was close to my body, and reached over at some point during the ride … and put his fingers inside of me,” she said at a news conference last week. “I never thought something like this would happen when I was in the custody of the police, whom I have always trusted.”

Hannigan accuses Miller of doing nothing to help her. “I was visibly trying to make eye contact with her,” Hannigan said, “and felt like she was purposefully not paying attention to what was going on in the back seat.”

The suit also claims that Zima texted Hannigan two days after the incident, asking how she was doing, but she did not reply. According to WABC-TV, Nassau County police acknowledged that Zima had obtained Hannigan’s cell phone number by accessing her records.

Hannigan reported the alleged abuse to the Nassau County Police Internal Affairs Division following the incident, the suit alleges, but on Nov. 26, 2012, the internal affairs unit found the allegation to be “undetermined.” According to the suit, the police did determine that Zima sent a text message to Hannigan, in violation of department regulations. Zima is still with the NCPD, according to a department spokesman.

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