Kane v. Barger, No. 17-3027 (3d Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Kane went to the hospital and reported that she may have been the victim of a sexual assault. Coraopolis Police Officer Barger interviewed Kane there. Kane says Barger told her to bring the clothes she wore during the alleged incident to the police station. The next day, Kane, with a friend, took her clothes to the station. Contrary to department policy, Barger met alone with Kane in a back room and used his personal cell phone to photograph Kane’s body. Barger pulled Kane’s shorts down to photograph a bruise on her right buttock. Kane says she “felt something touch her butt crack which caused her to jump.” Again, without asking Kane to do so, Barger pulled Kane’s tank top down to expose a bruise on her chest. Kane says that Barger repeatedly asked about her breasts, vagina, and buttocks. Despite Kane’s consistent denials, Barger’s relentless questioning led Kane to expose her vagina. Barger failed to document the clothing evidence. When Kane reported Barger’s actions, he gave inconsistent accounts, initially denying photographing Kane at all. Kane alleges that Barger violated her Fourteenth Amendment right to bodily integrity. The district court granted Barger summary judgment, citing qualified immunity. The Third Circuit reversed. Viewing the record in the light most favorable to Kane supports an inference that Barger acted for personal gratification rather than investigative ends, Barger’s conduct shocks the conscience and the right to bodily integrity was clearly established.