Sheriff's Captain: Deputies Raped Me, Dept. Did Nothing

Capt. Cheryl Arabalo Files Federal Lawsuit Against Denver Sheriff's Department

A Denver Sheriff’s Department captain has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the department of ignoring her claims that two fellow deputies raped her.

The deputy also claims she was sexually harassed.

“I can quietly submit to what they want me to or I can stand up for my rights,” said Cheryl Arabalo.

A department official said Arabalo's rape allegations are being investigated.

Arabalo has been on the force more than 18 years and said her career in Denver took a turn in 2009 when two deputies raped her in her own home. The alleged rape happened after a meeting for a non-profit group.

The federal lawsuit alleges that the men may have drugged Arabalo.

"The next day I was absolutely devastated,” Arabalo said in an exclusive interview with 7NEWS. “I called a friend who was a peer counselor and I called my immediate supervisor.”

Arabalo claims her supervisor didn’t do anything about her complaint and instead insisted she keep quiet in order to avoid a "he said, she said” situation.

Arabalo’s attorney, Linda Lee, said that wasn’t the only complaint that fell on deaf ears in the department.

"The police have a code of silence amongst them," Lee said. "Everything is secret, but what about the code of honor?"

After returning to work at the county jail, Arabalo said she began facing harassment from another deputy, who is a friend of her alleged attackers.

"It started almost immediately,” said Arabalo. “It was consistent, when no one else was around. Basically when he thought no one was around and he couldn’t get caught.”

The lawsuit alleges the deputy once told Arabalo to "lift her shirt" and "sit on his lap" for a "big surprise."

After complaining about the harassment, Arabalo said she started getting reprimanded.

In August 2010, she was suspended for filing an incorrect report. Months later in April of 2011, she was accused of embezzling money from a department support group.

A grand jury later found no criminal wrong-doing.

"All I could think was they were trying to come up with something else,” said Arabalo.

Arabalo is now awaiting a decision within the next two weeks on the status of her employment with the department.

"Over and over again they do nothing," Lee said. "She's sexually harassed. They do nothing. She's assaulted. They do nothing. Sometimes our protectors need protecting."

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