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CIVIL RIGHTS Despite delivering a 19-year-old mentally challenged girl back to a man she met online and who had repeatedly raped her, both the city of Akron, Ohio, and its officials are entitled to qualified immunity, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on April 16. Bukowski v. City of Akron, No. 01-4248. Through the Internet, Lisa Bukowski, who is mentally handicapped but able to function competently in some areas, met a 39-year-old Akron man posing as an 18-year-old mentally challenged person. Lisa traveled from eastern Pennsylvania to meet him in Akron, where he raped her several times. Police tracked Lisa to the attacker’s house and interviewed her at the police station. Officers and social work assessors concluded that Lisa knew what she was doing when she asked to be returned to the man’s house. The police took her there, and the man raped her again. When Lisa’s parents filed a civil rights claim against the city and its officials, a district court granted summary judgment based on qualified immunity for the city, but not for the officials. Reversing, the appeals court ruled that both the city and the officials were entitled to immunity. None of the parties violated Lisa’s due process rights because there was no real state action. The officers returned Lisa to the place she had been found; it took no affirmative action to make her more vulnerable to private violence. Even if there was state action, the officers did not act with deliberate indifference to Lisa’s needs. They knew of Lisa’s limitations, but did not know anything about her attacker other than that Lisa called him her “boyfriend.”

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