In one of Pennsylvania’s worst state police scandals, officials agreed yesterday to a $5 million settlement in federal civil-rights lawsuits of four women sexually assaulted by former state trooper Michael K. Evans, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The cases were due for a Sept. 13 trial that would have publicly dissected how law enforcement responded to complaints about Evans and to other sexual-misconduct reports involving about 50 troopers statewide. A statement issued by the attorneys involved and State Police Commissioner Jeffrey Miller commended the women for coming forward and providing information that led to criminal charges against Evans, 37. Evans pleaded guilty in 2000 to sex crimes against three teenage girls and three women from 1997 to 1999. He is serving a 5-to-10 year prison term.
Miller said the state police have adopted a “zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment and misconduct,” created an early intervention program, tightened pre-employment screening, and added training about preventing sexual harassment and misconduct. Internal-affairs reports buttress the contention that there was a deep-seated indifference by state police officials about allegations of troopers’ sexual improprieties. Between 1995 and 2001, state police officials handled 12 of 13 proved cases of sexual misconduct by troopers with suspensions without pay of seven days or fewer.