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Stripper's chaperone settles suit against Brookline cops

Posted by Brock Parker  April 30, 2013 04:33 PM

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A stripper’s chaperone has settled a federal lawsuit against four off-duty Brookline police officers whom he claimed assaulted him at a bachelor party in 2010.

Under the terms of the settlement, the police officers agreed to pay Robert Sonia, of Lynn, an undisclosed amount, said attorneys for both sides Tuesday.

Sonia filed the suit in U.S. District Court in April 2011 saying the four police officers assaulted him before conspiring to concoct a story that would lead to his arrest.

“He’s happy to have it resolved,” said attorney Michael Tumposky who along with John Saliba represented Sonia in the case. “It was a long process for him and he’s happy to put this part of his life behind him.”

Sonia’s suit stemmed from events on March 28, 2010, when Sonia says the officers - Daniel Avila, Brendan Kelliher, David Hill, and Yu Kajita - called Shamrock Entertainment in Lynn to request a stripper. Sonia accompanied the woman, Theresa Soundis, to a Beacon Street apartment at about 4:30 a.m., but the four officers said the bachelor had left the party, and they canceled the entertainment.

Sonia said that after he and Soundis left the apartment and were attempting to drive away from the 1700 block of Beacon Street, the officers attacked him, leaving him with a broken eye socket and broken ribs. The officers said that Sonia had struck Hill first.

The Brookline Police Department initially placed the four officers on paid administrative leave and charged Avila and Kelliher with assault. At the same time, Sonia was charged with assault and battery and threatening to commit a crime, and Soundis was charged with operating to endanger. All of the charges were dropped in June 2010 at the request of all of the parties involved.

But Sonia then filed the federal suit against the four officers and the town of Brookline, saying the town failed to train the officers properly and failed to take disciplinary action against them after they used excessive force. U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton dismissed the claim against the town in September of 2012, saying Sonia’s injury was not caused by a municipal policy, custom, or failure to train the officers properly, according to court records.

The suit against the four officers had been scheduled to go to trial in April, but Tumposky said negotiations that had been underway for a couple of months led to the settlement, which was finalized last Wednesday, April 24. He said the check for the settlement has already been received.

Kenneth Anderson, the attorney representing the four police officers, said the four officers continue to work for the Brookline Police Department and are well-liked and well-respected.

Anderson said each of the officers paid a nominal amount to settle the lawsuit. He said the decision to settle the case was based on risk assessment, but he declined to say how much the officers agreed to pay.

“It wasn’t for a lot of money,” Anderson said.

--brock.globe@gmail.com

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