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Former sheriff pleads guilty to forcing women to expose breasts

A former sheriff in Missouri admits to violating the women's right to be free from unreasonable searches, coercing them to expose their breasts during law enforcement searches.

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A former sheriff from a rural county in northwestern Missouri has pleaded guilty to coercing eight women to expose their breasts and other areas of their bodies during law enforcement searches.

Neal Wayne “Bear” Groom, who served as Worth County sheriff for eight years, pleaded guilty on Wednesday in federal court in Kansas City to violating the women’s constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches.

He admitted that between May 2006 and December 2007 he coerced the women to expose parts of their bodies during purported law enforcement searches.

Some of the women were photographed.

The then-sheriff told the women he was checking them for injuries or evidence of drug injections. Prosecutors said Groom had no legitimate law enforcement purpose in forcing the women to expose their breasts and other areas of their bodies.

Under certain circumstances, police may conduct intrusive searches when they have reasonable suspicion that a subject is concealing contraband or a weapon. Prosecutors concluded Groom was not justified in conducting his searches.


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