KITTERY, Maine — A New York woman is suing the town and its police department for $62 million for allegedly mishandling her rape investigation in the 1970s, when she claims at 13, she was raped in a Government Street apartment and then chased at knife point. The town now seeks dismissal of the suit in its entirety.
Filed in federal court Oct. 11, former members of the Kittery Police Department are named as defendants in the suit, where Kathleen Kristiansen is representing herself. Kristiansen granted the Portsmouth Herald permission to use her name, as the Herald does not publish identities of assault victims without their consent.
The town’s response, filed by attorney Edward Benjamin on Dec. 6, states the alleged conduct outlined in Kristiansen’s suit is barred by the applicable statute of limitations, and her complaints do not allege sufficient facts. However, Kristiansen is confident she has the hard copy evidence to prove her claims.
The actions of the Kittery Police Department, she alleges, resulted in “abuse, stalking and torment” by her attacker for years, so much so that she currently has active protective orders against the man.
Kristiansen alleges police failed to arrest and charge her 31-year-old attacker after he confessed to raping her in 1977. The suit states that when Kristiansen was 13, she was raped at the man’s Government Street apartment, and when she fled, she was chased with a knife. The man had allegedly admitted to having sex with the 13-year-old, the suit said, and the Kittery Police Department took a written statement of the alleged rapist’s confession.
“They failed to arrest him the minute he confessed to having sex with a minor,” Kristiansen wrote in the suit. “Both officers should have immediately arrested and charged him with gross sexual assault against a minor under the age of 14. By not doing so, they violated my rights to equal protection under the law by failure to prosecute.”
Kristiansen goes on to write that the department withheld the confession from her and her parents until May 2011, and did not turn over the confession to the district attorney’s office. Kristiansen alleges she has tried to report the crime several times over the years.
The suit outlines years of alleged harassment by the same man continuing on in New Hampshire. Most recently, in 2017, the New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld a protection order in which the man had appealed, the suit states.
Benjamin argues Kristiansen does not state an “actionable complaint” for which relief can be granted, and that her claims are “insufficient under Supreme Court precedent.” The town’s motion to dismiss has yet to receive an answer.