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Two Refugio women have filed a lawsuit against Refugio County Sheriff Robert Bolcik and two of his deputies over claims that the officers illegally strip searched them on the side of the highway in plain view of oncoming traffic.
Plaintiffs Brittah Williams and Jessica Mascorro claimed Bolcik, who was elected sheriff in November 2008, along with deputies Jeff Raymond and Shelley Haertig, both of whom are named as defendants in the lawsuit along with Bolcik, violated the plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights, which guard against unreasonable searches and seizures.
As the women neared the Bayside Bridge, Jessica Mascorro noticed flashing emergency lights from a law enforcement cruiser approaching from behind and signaling her to pull over, according to the lawsuit.
Mascorro, who was driving, pulled over to the side of the road, while Raymond and Bolcik also parked their vehicles.
Bolcik was the first to approach the women's car.
After Mascorro inquired why she had been pulled over, Bolcik said that he had information that her boyfriend at the time was smuggling drugs into the county, and he needed to search her vehicle, according to the lawsuit.
Mascorro gave Bolcik consent to search her vehicle, during which time no drugs were found, according to the lawsuit.
Haertig showed up on the scene soon afterward.
Upon her arrival, Haertig was instructed by the other officers to strip search the plaintiffs.
Following orders, Haertig searched the women.
Williams' child, who was in the back seat of the car, was also searched during the incident, according to the lawsuit.
The entire ordeal lasted more than two hours.
After the incident, a number of witnesses told the women they had observed them being strip searched alongside the highway, according to the lawsuit.