- Associated Press - Monday, October 24, 2016

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A second woman has filed a lawsuit accusing a former Helena police officer of sexually assaulting her while she worked as a confidential informant.

Former officer Lloyd Matthew Thompson began grooming the girl when she was an “emotionally fragile” high school student in 2008 and he was the school’s resource officer, said the lawsuit filed by the woman this month. It was made public last week by the law firm involved in the case.

The lawsuit claims Thompson in March 2012 falsely informed the woman she was facing at least 10 years in prison for two felony charges and that she could help herself by becoming an informant for the Missouri River Drug Task Force where Thompson worked at the time, the lawsuit states.

Thompson sexually assaulted the woman twice between April 2012 and June 2012 while she was high on methamphetamine, the complaint alleged. Thompson routinely reminded the woman of her felony charges and drew attention to his firearm which made her fear him, the lawsuit said.

Thompson resigned in 2012 after the city learned of the allegations, city attorney Thomas Jodoin has said. He was not charged with any crimes. City officials say they do not know where he lives now and efforts to reach him for comment have been unsuccessful.

The woman, identified in court records only by the initials T.F., also is seeking damages from the city and Lewis and Clark County for negligently hiring, training, supervising and retaining Thompson.

Another lawsuit filed in June claims Thompson repeatedly sexually assaulted another female informant and threatened to have her children taken away if she did not cooperate with his sexual advances.

Neither complaint has been served on the former Helena officer, the city or the county, but they will be soon, said attorney Timothy McKeon with the McKeon Doud law firm.

After Thompson learned he was under investigation, he contacted both informants and asked them not to cooperate with investigators, the lawsuits said.

Such complaints are not rare. An Associated Press investigation found that about 550 officers lost their licenses from 2009 through 2014 for sexual assault - a number that is certainly an undercount because some states do not take such action and some don’t track the information.

A 2011 report by the International Association of Chiefs of Police found that officers’ power and authority, independence, odd work hours and engagement with those perceived as less credible along with the misplaced loyalty of co-workers help shield predators.

The city is investigating the allegations and cannot comment, Jodoin said Monday, adding that the alleged conduct “is clearly outside the course and scope of any employment as a police officer.”

County Attorney Leo Gallagher did not immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press seeking comment.

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