PITTSBURGH (CN) - A predatory Pittsburgh police officer told a woman to "strip" for him if she wanted to get her fiancé out of jail, and the city let him keep working despite his sexual assaults on other women, the woman claims in court.
Adam M. Skweres, 35, pleaded guilty in March to 26 counts of sexually assaulting five women, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. He was sentenced to 3½ to 8 years in prison, and will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
He could have been sentenced to 86½ to 173 years in prison if he was convicted at trial, his attorney told the Post-Gazette.
In her federal lawsuit, Melissa Watkins says: "The Pittsburgh City Police Department has known for years that it had a violent sexual predator on its police force but did nothing."
She sued Pittsburgh, Skweres, former Police Chief Nathan Harper, Zone No. 3 Cmdr. Catherine McNeilly, and a John Doe police captain.
Watkins claims in the lawsuit claims that she was "the fourth victim of five women who have come forward regarding a sexual predator employed by the Pittsburgh City Police Department, Adam Skweres."
Watkins says she met Skweres when he responded with two other officers to a domestic dispute call she made on Dec. 11, 2011.
Her fiancé was arrested when police found marijuana on him, Watkins says in the lawsuit.
She says she saw Skweres later that month at her fiancé's criminal proceeding, and spoke with him about getting her fiance's bail reduced.
On Dec. 27, 2011, Watkins says, Skweres called her at home "regarding her fiance's whereabouts, in order to determine whether she was home alone."
At 9 o'clock the next night, she says in her lawsuit: "Ms. Watkins heard a knock on her door and found defendant Skweres on her doorstep. Ms. Watkins was at home with her young daughter in the other room. Ms. Watkins invited the officer into her home whereupon they had a discussion regarding whether Ms. Watkins knew where her fiancé had obtained the marijuana found on him at the time of his arrest.
"Then, Ms. Watkins asked defendant Skweres whether there was 'anything [she] could possible do to get him home.' Defendant Skweres immediately indicated that she could 'Strip.' Ms. Watkins nervously laughed off the comment and responded 'No, seriously?' Defendant Skweres reiterated 'You can strip.'
"At that point, Ms. Watkins became afraid and began backing away from Defendant Skweres, who was still near her front door. Defendant Skweres then tuned around and locked the deadbolt explaining 'to make sure that nobody bothers us.' Defendant Skweres walked into the living room approaching Ms. Watkins.
"Ms. Watkins exclaimed 'that's not going to happen.' Defendant Skweres responded that if she really wanted the charges dropped and her fiancé home, and that 'if she were a good girlfriend, [she] would do what it took.' Defendant Skweres told Ms. Watkins that for 'five minutes of [her] time, you can make this all go away.
"Ms. Watkins was terrified, and defendant Skweres told her that she should relax. Defendant Skweres advised Ms. Watkins that she should think about 'what [she] was willing to do to get [her fiancé] home.' When Ms. Watkins turned away from him, Defendant Skweres began begging her to look at him. When she did not look at him or respond, defendant Skweres offered Ms. Watkins a cigarette.
"When his attempts at getting Ms. Watkins to respond to him failed, defendant Skweres began pacing back and forth in the living room.
"Then, defendant Skweres looked at Ms. Watkins and asked whether she would be at least willing to give him a 'hand-job.' When Ms. Watkins still did not respond, Defendant Skweres indicated that she has to be 'willing to compromise.' Still, Ms. Watkins declined any response.
"Defendant Skweres then began asking Ms. Watkins, 'Why won't you look at me?' Defendant Skweres asked Ms. Watkins that question approximately five times before Ms. Watkins turned and demanded 'Why are you talking to me like this?' To which defendant Skweres responded 'I don't know, maybe it was your glasses that turned me on.'
"Ms. Watkins then broke down and started crying. Defendant Skweres began pacing again. At that point, Ms. Watkins believed she was about to be raped.
"Instead, Ms. Watkins pleaded with defendant Skweres to leave. Defendant Skweres started walking toward the door and then unzipped his pants. Ms. Watkins, still on the floor where she was crying, jumped up and screamed at Defendant Skweres, telling him she was not going to do anything with him.
"For several seconds there was silence.
"Ms. Watkins was in tears and her whole body was shaking. Then, she heard a snap, like the unclipping of a gun holster. Defendant Skweres stated 'I know you're a smart girl and won't say anything.' Ms. Watkins responded, 'The sooner you leave, the sooner I can forget about you.'
"Rather than leave, Defendant Skweres continued his attack. He stated 'There has to be something ... Show me something and then I'll leave.' When Ms. Watkins did not answer, defendant Skweres said 'You gotta show me something."
Watkins says Skweres then unlocked the deadbolt and told her, "If you drop your shorts and bend over, I'll leave."
Watkins did not answer. And "Skweres stated: 'Just one peek,'" according to the complaint.
Fearing she would be raped if she did not comply, Watkins says, she told Skweres, "If you backed up all the way to the door and don't fucking touch me, I'll do it."
Skweres told her he would keep his hands in his pocket, Watkins says, and she turned around and pulled down her shorts.
The lawsuit continues: "Skweres stated that it wasn't good enough, 'You gotta at least let me see that ass.' Ms. Watkins told him not to walk any closer and defendant Skweres told her that she had to "hurry up and do it and I'll leave.'
"Ms. Watkins then turned around and bent over. She exclaimed 'Now that's all
you're getting; I did what you wanted; now leave.' Defendant Skweres responded, 'You're smart enough not to report this; it's just between us.' When Ms. Watkins nodded, defendant Skweres stated, 'I knew you were a smart girl.'
"To add insult to injury, defendant Skweres' parting words were, 'Don't be afraid
to call 911 if you're in trouble, the cops are here to help.'
"Once defendant Skweres left, Ms. Watkins ran to the door, locked the deadbolt,
and threw up in her living room."
Watkins told her neighbor what had happened and he told her to call the state troopers and leave a message for Pittsburgh's Office of Municipal Investigations. She did so, she says, and the next day she received her only follow-up call, in which she was told that Skweres already was under investigation.
She claims the city knew as early as 2005 that Skweres was unfit to be a cop.
She claims in the lawsuit:
that Skweres raped a woman in his squad car in 2008;
that a woman sued the city in 2008, claiming Skweres had "threatened to have her kids taken away from her if she did not perform oral sex on him";
that Skweres "sexually assaulted another woman in her home," also after she asked his help getting her boyfriend out of jail;
and that in February 2012 the Pittsburgh PD acknowledged it had investigated Skweres in 2008, but "that there was not enough evidence to remove the defendant from full uniform until the fourth woman came forward alleging that Skweres had tried to rape her."
Watkins seeks punitive damages for constitutional violations, and failure to train and supervise.
She is represented by D. Aaron Rihn, with Robert Pierce & Associates.