A Brooklyn woman who claimed that an NYPD officer improperly strip searched her and took intimate photos of her with his cell phone will receive a $90,000 settlement from the city. Claudia Bova, 25, was arrested in a Coney Island drug sweep in June 2007, and says that Officer Charles Derosalia, who has been accused by 17 other women of illegal strip searches, took several photos of a tattoo below her navel. “Detective Derosalia victimized women who were in his custody and control. He victimized them in police precincts, right under the noses of his supervisors,” said Bova's lawyer, Nicole Bellina.
Derosalia, a Long Island resident who worked with the Brooklyn South narcotics team, was found guilty of violating an NYPD policy prohibiting cross-gender searches, and the recommended penalty is dismissal from the force. Under the settlement, the city will pay Bova $75,000 and Derosalia must pay $15,000.
Bova had claimed that Derosalia had led her to the bathroom and ordered her to lift up her shirt, "shake out her bra" and pull down her pants—and says she was forced to take her clothes off in the bathroom two more times. The first was so he could take photos with his cell phone—and when he said those photos didn't come out right, he forced her to go through the process all over again.
Another woman, Quantalis Legrand, came forward after Bova, claiming Derosalia "watched her change out of pajamas into street clothes, exposing her breasts and panties to him in the bedroom of her Avenue X apartment." She said she was fondled by him, and couldn't sleep after the incident. None of the other women have accused Derosalia of touching them inappropriately—just leering at them while they took off their clothes.