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David L. Lewis v. Larry Mills

March 31, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge

E-FILED Thursday, 31 March, 2011 03:57:12 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD


Plaintiff, David L. Lewis, filed his First Amended Complaint (#36) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988 against Defendants Larry Mills, Todd Damilano, Scott Corrie, and Clint Gray on January 6, 2010. Defendants Mills and Damilano filed their Motion for Summary Judgment (#58) on December 15, 2010, which was joined by Defendants Corrie (#60) and Gray (#61). Plaintiff filed his Response (#69) on February 18, 2011. Defendants have filed their Replies (#76, 77, 78). Defendant Gray also filed a Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions (#64). All pending motions are fully briefed and ready for judgment. For the following reasons, Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment (#58, 60, 61) are all GRANTED in full. Defendant Gray's Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions (#64) is DENIED.


Plaintiff worked as a part time police officer for the Village of Belgium, Illinois, between October 2003 and February 2007. Defendant Larry Mills was a licensed attorney and worked as the First Assistant State's Attorney for Vermilion County. Defendant Todd Damilano worked as a Deputy Sheriff/Investigator for the Vermilion County Sheriff's Department (VCSD). Defendant Scott Corrie was the owner and operator of the Playpen Gentlemen's Club (the Playpen). Defendant Clint Gray, Plaintiff's brother, visited the Playpen as a patron on occasion and is friendly with Defendant Corrie.

This case arises out of a series of events occurring in 2006 and early 2007. Plaintiff was accused of various sexual offenses against women who danced at and were patrons of the Playpen Gentlemen's Club. During the same time period, Vermilion County First Assistant State's Attorney Larry Mills was the subject of a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigation into whether he gave criminal defendants favorable treatment in exchange for cocaine and sexual favors provided through the Playpen. Plaintiff alleges that his cooperation with the FBI in the Mills investigation, and his refusal to go along with Mills's corruption, led to retaliation by Defendants in the form of false criminal allegations against him.

Criminal Allegations Against Plaintiff

On March 17, 2006, shortly after 3:00 am, Danielle Perry, a Playpen dancer, was driving home from work when she was pulled over by Plaintiff for a traffic stop. Plaintiff was in full uniform and driving his Village of Belgium squad car. After exchanging words with Plaintiff, Perry drove off in her vehicle without Plaintiff's permission, leaving Plaintiff along the roadway. Later that day Perry went to the VCSD and spoke with a deputy. Perry claimed Plaintiff had kissed her and grabbed her during the traffic stop. Perry stated she came forward of her own volition and that none of the Defendants ever directed, coaxed, or induced her to come forward and testify against Plaintiff. Perry's initial allegations against Plaintiff were investigated by VCSD Captain Rod Kaag. On March 21, 2006, Perry came to the Vermilion County Public Safety Building and provided Kaag with a tape recorded statement regarding what had occurred during the traffic stop. Neither Damilano nor Mills had any involvement in Perry's statements to the VCSD and Captain Kaag. On March 23, 2006, after obtaining a grand jury subpoena for Perry's cell phone records, Captain Kaag advised Mills that the VCSD was investigating Plaintiff. According to Kaag, however, he did not ask Mills for any guidance, direction, or assistance in the investigation.

In April 2006 another Playpen dancer, Lacrisha Carrigan, was interviewed by Kaag. Carrigan claimed that one year earlier Plaintiff, while on duty as a Belgium police officer, had shown her pictures of his genitals next to a beer bottle. In April 2006 Defendant Damilano met with another Playpen dancer, Rebecca Lee, at the Vermilion County Public Safety Building. Lee told Damilano that she had been coerced by Plaintiff in January 2006 into giving Plaintiff oral sex to avoid a traffic ticket. Lee then provided Damilano and VCSD Investigator Bill Hurt with a tape recorded statement regarding the incident. Damilano provided Kaag with a copy of his report of the Lee incident. At the beginning of 2006, Belgium Police Chief Dale Ghibaudy met with his officers during a monthly meeting and explicitly advised them not to go into the Playpen unless there was a specific call for service. Chief Ghibaudy testified in his deposition that he believes Plaintiff repeatedly and grossly violated his directive in 2006 not to go into the Playpen unless there was a call for service.

On January 19, 2007, Audrey White went to the Belgium Police Department and complained to Chief Ghibaudy about an incident that had occurred one month earlier involving Plaintiff. Ghibaduy contacted Damilano and advised him of White's allegations. White worked for Defendant Clint Gray at Fat Boy Subs, but had encountered Plaintiff at the Playpen, where she was visiting as a patron, on December 23, 2006. White complained that Plaintiff tried to take liberties with her that night. On January 19, 2007, White filled out a written complaint with the Belgium Police Department, complaining about Plaintiff's conduct on December 23-24, 2006. On January 22, 2007, White gave Damilano a tape-recorded statement in which she stated that Plaintiff had knocked on the door of her house in the early morning of December 24, 2006, in full uniform, and that he had asked her to leave her residence and come with him in his police car. Plaintiff then drove White to a secluded area and started kissing her without her consent.

In February and March 2007, Damilano interviewed four more women who claimed they had been victimized by Plaintiff. Cheryl Forshier (Playpen employee) recounted that Plaintiff paid her for sex in 2005. Ashley Grider (Steak and Shake employee) claimed she had been subjected to ongoing and persistent harassment by Plaintiff. Jennifer Garrett recounted an incident in September 2004 when she was working as a Playpen dancer when Plaintiff (while on duty) propositioned her, reached under dress, and grabbed her crotch. Amy Dow (Playpen employee) testified that she had sex twice with Plaintiff in 2006: once at the Belgium Police Department and the other time in her car in the police department parking lot. Dow claims that, at the very minimum, she was coerced by Plaintiff. Sometime in February or March 2007, Kaag and Damilano met with Mills and turned over all their reports in connection with their investigation of Plaintiff to Mills.

Kaag and Mills did not have any other conversations in 2006 about Plaintiff besides the March 23, 2006, conversation where Kaag informed Mills of the Perry investigation. Kaag did not ask Mills to take any action against Plaintiff in 2006 and did not give Mills the VCSD police reports concerning Plaintiff. Further, in his affidavit, Captain Kaag states that all of Damilano's investigative efforts were done under his (Kaag's) direction and that he (Kaag) reviewed all reports in connection with the investigation. Kaag did not turn over the reports to Mills until after Kaag decided there was sufficient evidence against Plaintiff.

FBI Investigation of Larry Mills

At some time prior to 2006, the FBI began to investigate Mills on suspicion that he had used drugs and/or provided favorable deals on criminal cases in exchange for drugs and other favors. In December 2006, FBI Special Agent Luke Humphrey and Illinois State Police Investigator Troy Phillips interviewed Belgium Police Chief Dale Ghibaudy at the police department regarding Mills. On December 13, 2006, Humphrey and Phillips met with Plaintiff at the police department. Plaintiff indicated during the interview that he had no knowledge of any drug trafficking or use by Mills or of Mills providing favorable treatment in criminal cases in exchange for drugs or sexual favors. Plaintiff did say he had heard rumors to that effect, however. At the completion of the interview, Humphrey handed Plaintiff his business card and told Plaintiff to call him if he heard anything more. However, neither Humphrey or Phillips asked Plaintiff to investigate the matter or take any further action in connection with the FBI investigation of Mills. From the date of the interview, December 13, 2006, to the date he was indicted by the grand jury, April 11, 2007, Plaintiff had no contact whatsoever with Humphrey or Phillips.

Plaintiff claims to have had a conversation with Defendant Clint Gray on December 17, 2006, in which the two discussed Plaintiff's December 13, 2006 interview with the FBI. Plaintiff states that Gray told him "your badge needs to stay in the car." Gray told Plaintiff he was "making some very powerful and dangerous people very uncomfortable." When Plaintiff asked him what he was talking about, Gray told him he knew Plaintiff had spoken with the FBI about Mills and Corrie. Gray asked Plaintiff what he knew about Mills and Plaintiff told him that "the FBI has some concerns he is involved in something not exactly on the up and up with the Playpen." Gray then told Plaintiff "Larry Mills runs this county." Gray explained that Mills would receive cocaine from Scott Corrie and that Mills would then prosecute competing drug dealers. Mills would also have sex with girls provided by Corrie. Gray told Plaintiff that Plaintiff could double his salary if he went along the scheme. Plaintiff said he would not get involved and was going to do his job. Gray then said "you know I can't protect you, right?" Gray denies that this conversation ever took place.

After the alleged conversation with Gray, Plaintiff spoke to sister-in-law Jennifer Garrett, a Playpen dancer. Garrett told Plaintiff that Corrie had an apartment in Tilton, Illinois, where she and other strippers would go to have sex with Mills and do cocaine. Garrett also told Plaintiff that she had sex with Damilano on multiple occasions and that if she had legal problems, all she would do is tell law enforcement officers to contact Damilano.

Mills was never charged with any crimes in connection with the FBI and Illinois State Police investigation.

The Criminal Case Against Plaintiff

On March 30, 2007, a Vermilion County Grand Jury was convened to consider charges against Plaintiff. Six women (Audrey White, Amy Dow*fn1 , Danielle Perry, Jennifer Garrett, Lacrisha Carrigan, and Ashley Grider) testified under oath regarding Plaintiff's actions against them. According to Plaintiff, immediately before Plaintiff was going to testify before the grand jury, Mills asked him about what he told the FBI. When Plaintiff told Mills he did not know what Mills was talking about, Mills responded "Wrong answer." On April 11, 2007, Plaintiff was indicted by the grand jury on 49 felony counts of official misconduct, armed violence, ...

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