Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Milwaukee Poised To Pay Additional $150,000 For Predator Police Officer

Officer Sonthana Rajaphoumi finished four-year prison sentence earlier this year.

By - Dec 2nd, 2021 03:56 pm
Sonthana Rajaphoumi. Image from Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Background photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Sonthana Rajaphoumi. Image from Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Background photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The City of Milwaukee is poised to settle a second lawsuit regarding a former Milwaukee Police Department officer that used his position to make physical, sexual contact with teenage girls.

The latest settlement, pending before the Common Council, would have the city pay $150,000 to an unidentified individual (L.N.T.). It comes on the heels of the city’s June approval of a $250,000 settlement for another victim (D.C.F.).

In 2015, L.N.T. and her friend D.C.F. were stopped by then-officer Sonthana Rajaphoumi, who was wearing his uniform and in a squad car. He, according to L.N.T., demanded her telephone number and later contacted her, asking for photos.

“[T.C.F.] further alleges that a few months later, in January of 2016, he showed up at her home, in uniform and in a marked squad car. He directed her to the back of the house where he instructed her to expose herself to him, at which point he had sexual contact with her,” wrote City Attorney Tearman Spencer and deputy city attorney Yolanda McGowan in a letter to the council encouraging the settlement.

The settlement recommendation for D.C.F. includes a similar description, but with the term “physical contact.”

Rajaphoumi was ultimately convicted of two counts of a Class F felony of causing mental harm to a child. In October 2017, Rajaphoumi, then 46 years old, was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to two felony charges of causing mental harm to a child.

He spent three years at an out-of-state prison before being returned to Dodge Correctional Institution in May. He was released as part of a four-year extended supervision program in August.

A hiring committee recommended not advancing Rajaphoumi’s application to join MPD in 2000 because of a background investigation, but the Fire & Police Commission overruled and allowed him to continue the application process.

L.N.T. is represented by attorney Drew DeVinney of Martin Law Office. D.C.F. was also represented by Martin Law Office.

The Common Council did not publicly discuss the D.C.F. case before unanimously approving it. Deputy City Attorney Robin A. Pederson spent 22 seconds on June 7 telling the Judiciary & Legislation Committee that the plaintiff’s attorney presented the offer and City Attorney Tearman Spencer recommended it be accepted due to the risk of having to pay more in damages if it goes to trial. The latest letter for L.N.T. recommends settlement instead of going to trial for the same risk.

The funds would come from a budgeted settlement account.

The Judiciary & Legislation Committee could consider the L.N.T. settlement at its Dec. 6 meeting. An agenda has not been released. The full council could vote on the settlement on Dec 14.

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