Thurston County will pay $150,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by an innocent man who was arrested in 2007 on suspicion of breaking into a southeast Olympia home and raping an 11-year-old girl.
While at the county jail, plaintiff David Lukas Lynch was improperly restrained and “suffered a psychological breakdown which included him attempting to chew his wrists to the point of bleeding to death,” Olympia attorney Charles Lane wrote in the lawsuit.
The jail and its private contractor failed to follow their procedures for using restraints for mentally ill inmates, the lawsuit alleges. Because Lynch’s range of motion while in restraints was not properly checked, he developed a deep vein thrombosis and a saddle pulmonary embolism, according to the suit.
Lane said Thursday that Lynch, who now lives in California, still takes blood thinners to treat his thrombosis and embolism.
“He’s going to be on medication probably for the rest of his life because of this,” Lane said, adding that Lynch’s condition can be fatal and has to be monitored.
A federal judge in Tacoma had earlier dismissed Lane’s civil claims against the Olympia police officers who arrested Lynch on Feb. 6, 2007, outside a church near where the girl had been raped the night before.
U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton ruled in May that the officers were justified in approaching and questioning Lynch, who was 24 at the time of his arrest.
Leighton’s ruling dismissing the claims against Olympia police supported the “qualified immunity” legal doctrine argued by the officers’ attorney, Donald Law. Qualified immunity broadly protects police from civil damages as long as their conduct “does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.”
Lynch was arrested and charged with rape after police found he had a notebook that described his “need to get over his ‘child hunting game,’” court papers state. He spent about 15 days at the Thurston County Jail before he was sent to Western State Hospital.
Prosecutors dismissed first-degree rape and other charges against Lynch on Feb. 22, 2007, after DNA taken from the victim did not match Lynch’s DNA.
Olympia police later arrested Peter James Inouye, a young man who lived in the same neighborhood as the rape victim. Inouye’s DNA matched the suspect’s DNA taken during the victim’s rape exam. In January 2009, Inouye was sentenced to more than 60 years in prison for the rape.
Lane settled Lynch’s claims against Thurston County and the county jail’s health care provider, Healthcare Delivery Inc., during a mediation hearing in mid-July. An order dismissing those claims was signed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on Tuesday.
County attorney David Klumpp confirmed Thursday that the county had agreed to pay Lynch $150,000 in return for the dismissal of the lawsuit. Rebecca Izsak, a Seattle attorney who represented Healthcare Delivery during the mediation, confirmed that her client also had settled with Lynch. She said she is barred from disclosing the terms because of a confidentiality agreement.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465 firstname.lastname@example.org