Woman claims deputies strip searched and forcibly removed feminine hygiene product on roadside

Lawsuit claims woman was strip searched roadside

Beverly Hills, FL - A Citrus County woman claims she was frisked, strip searched and had her tampon forcibly removed by Sheriff Deputies during a traffic stop in 2011, according to a lawsuit filed by her attorney, Michael Sechrest.

According to the lawsuit, Leila Tarantino was driving on South Columbus Street in Beverly Hills, Florida with her children on June 11th of last year when she approached a stop sign and came to a complete stop.

The lawsuit claims that when Tarantino drove forward, an unnamed deputy traveling in the opposite direction turned around to stop Tarantino. The lawsuit also says the deputy got out of his cruiser with his gun pointed at Tarantino's car and called for backup.

Over the next two hours, four more officers, including a female, arrived on scene, Tarantino's lawsuit alleges. These five people proceeded forward with the strip search on the side of the road, in front of Tarantino's children, and with the permission of Sheriff Jeffrey Dawsey, according to paperwork filed in District Court.

Citrus County Sheriff's Office has fired back at Tarantino, stopping short of calling her an outright liar.

In a statement to ABC Action News, the Citrus Count Sheriff's Department wrote:

"The Citrus County Sheriff's Office wants to go on record as saying the allegations made in this lawsuit are not only ludicrous, but completely untrue.  Yes, a traffic stop was conducted on July 17, 2011.  The plaintiff was issued a criminal citation for violation of restrictions on her driver's license.  She also was issued a written warning for rolling through a stop sign.

No strip search was conducted, and the plaintiff's tampon was never forcibly removed by any deputy.

It is the Sheriff's Office intent to aggressively defend itself against these malicious allegations.

Tarantino has been arrested multiple times in the past for drug possession, driving under the influence and domestic battery. "

ABC Action News left a voicemail for Tarantino's attorney.  

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