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Dispatcher Sues State Police for Alleged Cover-Up

SCRANTON -- There's been another strange twist related to the deadly ambush at the state police barracks in Pike County.

A dispatcher who survived that sniper attack is suing state police. She accuses them of covering up an alleged rape.

Newswatch 16 has chosen not to identify the accuser.

Her lawsuit filed in Lackawanna County court is seeking money for what attorneys say was an attempt to silence the dispatcher and protect the reputation of the Pennsylvania State Police.

As Eric Frein awaits trial for the deadly ambush at the Blooming Grove State Police barracks in September 2014, several state troopers are accused of an elaborate cover-up unrelated to the attack in Pike County.

A woman who was working at the barracks the night of the attack has filed suit against the state police. She claims troopers retaliated after she accused a supervising trooper at the Blooming Grove barracks of rape.

Troopers interviewed the woman a few days after Corporal Bryon Dickson was shot and killed and Trooper Alex Douglass was shot and wounded, according to court papers.

Investigators wanted to find what may have motivated the deadly shooting. She told them about the alleged rape and several other instances of sexual harassment.

The lawsuit goes on to argue that state police didn't want that information to get out fearing it would damage the agency's reputation.

PSP Internal Affairs looked into the alleged rape and other accusations even going so far as to interview the dispatcher in Harrisburg. Then, in early 2015, court papers indicate troopers from the Dunmore Barracks had the woman involuntarily committed for psychiatric treatment only to have her released within hours.

State police released a statement to Newswatch 16, saying:

The Pennsylvania State Police takes the allegations made by [the accuser] very seriously. Although we will not comment on pending litigation, we can confirm PSP began an internal investigation into [the accuser's] claims when they became known in late 2014. That investigation is still ongoing.

Newswatch 16 also contacted prosecutors in Pike and Lackawanna counties. Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin said his criminal investigation related to the internal affairs case is closed and Lackawanna County District Attorney Shane Scanlon said he has no active investigation into the matter.

The former dispatcher did not want to speak with Newswatch 16.

It's not clear from the lawsuit how much she is seeking in damages. The PA Office of Attorney General is defending the state police in the lawsuit.

Eric Frein's jury selection is expected to start next week.

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