DPS trooper sentenced in Texas roadside body cavity search

Nearly two years after Texas Department of Public Safety troopers performed a controversial body cavity search alongside a Dallas area highway, Trooper Kelly Helleson – who was charged with two counts of sexual assault and two counts of official oppression – pleaded guilty last week to misdemeanor charges of official oppression while denying commission of the alleged sexual assaults.

The Dallas Morning News reports Helleson maintaining that “at no time did I ever stick my finger inside someone’s body” though Russell Wilson, a special fields bureau chief with the district attorney’s office, disputed the statement saying Helleson admitted having committed the offense in her judicial confession.

State District Judge Dominique Collins sentenced Helleson – per the recommendation of Dallas County prosecutors – to a year in jail which was suspended. She will, however, serve two years of supervised probation and was assessed a $1,000 fine for each of the two convictions.

The search of Angel Dobbs, 38, and her niece, Ashley Dobbs, 24, occurred July 13, 2012, during a traffic stop near the Irving corridor of State Highway 161. The stop, captured by a DPS dash-mounted camera, started with Trooper David Farrell saying he saw the women throw a cigarette butt out of the car window. Claiming to smell marijuana in the car, he called Trooper Kelley Helleson to conduct the search. No drugs were found. Angel Dobbs also passed a field sobriety test and the two women were released with a littering warning.

In a lawsuit that was subsequently settled , the women allege Helleson “used her fingers to search their anuses and vaginas — using the same latex glove — while on the side of the road in full view of passing vehicles.”

Per The Morning News, Farrell was indicted but later acquitted on a theft by a public servant charge related to allegedly stealing a bottle of hydrocodone pills during a vehicle search.

Dobbs expressed disappointment with the verdict saying she believes other Helleson victims exist and encourages them to come forward.

“I didn’t agree with dropping the sexual assault because I know there was sexual assault,” she told the paper.

Lou Ann Anderson is an information activist and the editor of Watchdog Wire – Texas. As also a contributor at Raging Elephants Radio and News Radio 1400 KTEM, she writes and speaks on a variety of public policy topics. Lou Ann is the creator and online producer at Estate of Denial®, a website that addresses probate abuse via wills, trusts, guardianships and powers of attorney as well as other taxpayer advocacy issues.

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