Guilty Plea In Roadside Cavity Search Case
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A fired female state trooper pleaded guilty to criminal charges on Friday morning after conducting illegal cavity searches on two women along the side of the road. The incident was recorded on the trooper’s squad car dashboard video camera.
Kelly Helleson, 34, admitted that she is guilty of two charges of official oppression. As part of her deal with the Dallas County District Attorney’s office, prosecutors dropped sexual assault charges against her.
The case made national headlines when it first came to light in December 2012.
The two victims, Angel Dobbs and her niece, Ashley Dobbs, filed a lawsuit against Helleson and another state trooper who initially stopped the women along State Highway 161 for allegedly throwing a cigarette out of their car window. The incident happened in June 2012.
But after the women came forward and went public with their story, the Texas Department of Public Safety suspended both troopers, then fired Helleson claiming that the cavity search of the two women was illegal. The other trooper, Jennie Bui, was first fired, but then later reinstated.
On the video, Helleson is shown putting on a rubber glove before reaching into each woman’s pants and searching their private areas. Helleson used the same glove on each woman.
In the courtroom on Friday, victim Angel Dobbs said on the stand that she felt as though she was sexually assaulted. Helleson apologized, saying that she did what was she was trained to do. The prosecution revealed that Texas DPS changed their training standards for searches, prohibiting cavity searches without a warrant.
The judge sentenced Helleson to two years probation after suspending a one-year prison sentence. Helleson must also pay a $1,000 fine for each of the two cases.
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