LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — After prosecutors dropped all charges in her in March, a former behavioral therapist has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of North Las Vegas and a police officer.
Amy Villarreal had been accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old client who has autism. All charges were dropped on March 16.
Villarreal, who worked at Crescent Academy, was arrested in September 2021 and charged on allegations that were “vague, inconsistent, uncorroborated, and objectively unbelievable,” according to her lawyers, the Law Office of Jordan Marsh.
The lawsuit accuses North Las Vegas police officer Jorge Correa of violating Villarreal’s Fourth Amendment rights. Villarreal lost her career and her reputation, and spent months fighting charges that could have put her in prison for the rest of her life, according to a news release distributed by her lawyer.
The lawsuit contends Correa made no attempt to verify the accusations by interviewing other therapists, and no physical evidence or witness corroboration was offered regarding the alleged incidents.
“People assume the police wouldn’t arrest someone for such a serious offense if they didn’t have a solid evidentiary basis to believe they committed the crime,” attorney Jordan Marsh said. “But that’s not always the case, and it certainly wasn’t here. And Amy has been paying the price for that since her arrest.”
Villareal is seeking a jury trial in U.S. District Court. The lawsuit alleges three federal civil rights violations by Correa:
- False arrest
- Unlawful detention
- Malicious prosecution
The lawsuit alleges the City of North Las Vegas is responsible for Correa’s actions as a city employee.
Villarreal’s lawyers say she incurred $25,000 in legal bills and $15,000 for the bond to release her from jail. She lost her behavioral therapist license and is “afraid to return to the same line of work,” according to the lawsuit.