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Is it a legitimate lawsuit or just revenge? Leila Tarantino of Florida claims a traffic stop got way too personal when deputies allegedly strip-searched her and then removed her tampon by force.
But the sheriff's office in Citrus County, Fla., insists the strip search never happened, Tampa's WFTS-TV reports.
Here's what's not disputed: Tarantino was driving in Beverly Hills, Fla., in June 2011, when a sheriff's deputy pulled her over.
Here's what's being disputed: Everything else.
Leila Tarantino's lawsuit asserts the deputy who pulled her over immediately drew his gun and called for backup, WFTS reports. Over the next two hours, four more deputies, including a female officer, forced Tarantino to be strip-searched twice while her children watched, her lawsuit claims.
During one of the searches, the female deputy allegedly forcibly removed Tarantino's tampon, her lawsuit asserts.
But all of these contentions are bogus, the sheriff's office said in a statement. Yes, Tarantino was pulled over -- for rolling through a stop sign, which also got her a citation, the statement begins.
Tarantino was also cited for violating a restriction on her driver's license, the sheriff's office says. Aside from that, the traffic stop was pretty routine, according to the statement.
"No strip search was conducted, and the plaintiff's tampon was never forcibly removed by any deputy," the statement continues. "It is the Sheriff's Office['s] intent to aggressively defend itself against these malicious allegations."
Video from a sheriff's cruiser dashcam could perhaps solve this dispute, but it's not clear if such video exists.
If Tarantino is indeed making up her story, she could potentially be hit with a lawsuit alleging malicious prosecution. In general, a victim of malicious prosecution must also prove damages such as loss of income or reputation. There are also strict time limits to file such an action.
On the other hand, if Leila Tarantino's claims are accurate, the sheriff's office could face a potentially large damage award for allegedly removing the woman's tampon by force. Tarantino has prior arrests for drug possession, domestic battery, and DUI, according to the sheriff's department.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.