Former Marine sergeant files lawsuit, says she was unlawfully strip searched in LaSalle Co. jail

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LASALLE COUNTY, Ill. — A 28-year-old former Marine sergeant has filed a lawsuit claiming deputies forcibly strip searched her without cause or justification.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, Zandrea Askew said that on Jan. 20, 2017, three female deputies at a LaSalle County jail forcibly removed her clothing and left her for 12 hours in a padded cell after she was arrested.

Askew was passing through Marseilles on the way to Nevada at the time — that's when deputies got involved. Believing she was disoriented, and possibly on drugs, they arrested her even though she passed a field sobriety test.

She was taken into custody. Once in the jail, deputies said she was uncooperative and refused to answer questions, so they put her in a cell and had three female detectives strip her of her clothing.

The LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office has come under fire for its strip search policies in the past, and has been successfully sued over them.

Askew’s lawyer, Terry Elk, said it’s a policy used to humiliate detainees like his client.

“She’s upset in that she keeps asking, ‘Why am I here? Why are you doing this to me?’ Apparently the deputies didn’t like that, so they got angry at her and they pulled her out of the room, threw her in the padded cell and ripped her clothes off. It’s as simple as that," he said. "No possible other explanation other than they were punishing her because they didn’t like the way she was answering questions and that’s unlawful.

No one from the sheriff’s office has been able to comment on the lawsuit. The lawsuit seeks at least $1 million in damages.

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