Pubdate: Tue, 26 Mar 2013
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2013 The Dallas Morning News, Inc.
Author: Jennifer Emily
Page: 4B

Dallas County


Charges Stem From Alleged Body Cavity Searches in Traffic Stop

Two Department of Public Safety troopers were indicted Monday by a 
Dallas County grand jury after two women alleged roadside searches 
during a traffic stop included the penetration of their vaginas and anuses.

Kelly Helleson is the trooper accused of performing the searches with 
the same latex glove. She was indicted on two counts of sexual 
assault and two counts of official oppression.

The trooper who called Helleson to conduct the search, David Farrell, 
was indicted on a charge of theft by a public servant.

The searches were captured by a dashboard video camera.

An attorney for Helleson, Bob Baskett, called the charges against his 
client "completely bogus."

"I have no explanation for it, except for the grand jury disregarded 
the law," he said. "She got consent from these women to conduct a 
search inside their clothes."

Baskett said that Helleson passed a polygraph that showed she 
explained the search to the women and that there was no sexual penetration.

Farrell, 33, could not be reached for comment and it was not known 
Monday whether he had hired an attorney.

Helleson, 33, was fired by DPS and is appealing that decision. 
Farrellis is on paid suspension, pending the outcome of an internal 

The cases were referred to the grand jury to determine what, if any, 
charges should be filed.

The two women, Angel Dobbs and her niece, Ashley Dobbs, are suing the 
state troopers in federal court, alleging they were subjected to an 
illegal and humiliating "roadside body cavity search" during a 
traffic stop. The lawsuit says the search occurred on State Highway 
161 in or near Irving on the night of July 13.

Both women were at the criminal courthouse Friday near downtown. 
Their attorney, Scott Palmer, said Friday both women were briefly 
called into the grand jury room. He declined to discuss any 
testimony. He could not be reached for comment Monday.

The women claim that Helleson used her fingers to search their anuses 
and vaginas while on the side of the road in full view of passing vehicles.

They said Farrell called Helleson to the scene after stopping the 
women's vehicle and questioning them about marijuana. Farrell told 
them he stopped them after seeing them throw cigarette butts out of 
the window, according to the lawsuit.

He asked for searches because he said the women were "acting weird," 
the suit said.

Farrell searched the car for marijuana but didn't find any. He then 
tried to "morph this situation into a DWI investigation," the lawsuit said.

Angel Dobbs passed a sobriety test and the women were given warnings 
for littering, the suit said.

The lawsuit alleges that Angel Dobbs suffered an irritated cyst 
during the search, causing "severe and continuing pain and discomfort."

"Angel Dobbs was overwhelmed with emotion and a feeling of 
helplessness and reacted stating that Helleson had just violated her 
in a most horrific manner," the lawsuit said.

Theft by a public servant is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up 
to six months in the county jail.

Sexual assault is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and official 
oppression is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up a year in the 
county jail.

No court dates have been set, according to court records.
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