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Lawsuit: Bosses covered for deputy

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HANCOCK COUNTY — A McCordsville woman involved in a domestic dispute with a Hancock County sheriff’s deputy last year has sued the officer’s superiors, saying they failed to protect her from a man they knew was violent, court documents state.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court of Southern Indiana, is the latest legal development between ex-Deputy Scott Roeger and a woman he formerly dated, Jennifer Wilson-Trattner.

Roeger, who declined to comment for this story, resigned amid legal troubles early this year after he was arrested following an altercation at Wilson-Trattner’s home. The ensuing investigation prompted prosecutors in two counties to file a total of five criminal cases against him, three of which involved allegations of violence against women.

Roeger went on to plead guilty to charges of battery and criminal mischief in a plea agreement that covered four of those cases. One remaining case is still pending in Hamilton County.

The lawsuit accuses department officials of using “the instrumentalities of (the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department) to cover up Deputy Roeger’s physical violence against Wilson-Trattner and others.”

The lawsuit is filed against Sheriff Mike Shepherd; his second in command, Maj. Brad Burkhart; a former detective, Ted Munden; and road division commander Capt. Robert Campbell.

The lawsuit also names Roeger, the sheriff’s department and the county as defendants.

The lawsuit names several instances in which Roeger was allegedly investigated, but no department action was brought against him.

The lawsuit cites several past allegations against Roeger, including the 2009 case in which Roeger is accused of battering his then-wife. The case was among those settled in the plea agreement Roeger accepted in March.

The lawsuit states the department “took no action against Deputy Roeger with regard to this violent domestic dispute, and that matter was basically swept under the rug.”

The complaint goes on to cite instances in which internal investigations into Roeger’s behavior were left incomplete or improperly filed.

Shortly after Roeger’s arrest, the sheriff admitted he misplaced a 2012 report into allegations against Roeger and then forgot to follow up on the incident.

Shepherd declined to comment for this story.

Wilson-Trattner alleges Roeger’s superiors made a habit of dismissing his bad acts, which the lawsuit states was “intentional, malicious, reckless and in bad faith.”

The complaint does not list a dollar amount but notes that “Wilson-Trattner suffered great mental anguish.”

A tort claim notice filed in advance of the lawsuit listed $700,000 as the amount sought.

Roeger, 33, was sentenced to one year of probation in a plea agreement that covered all three Hancock County courts and four criminal cases against Roeger.

Three additional felony charges and two misdemeanors against Roeger were dismissed.

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