Remember Lauri Price, the former substitute teacher and mother of four who was arrested earlier this year at Bush Intercontinental Airport after returning home from Canada, where she was visiting her 16-year-old lover?
Well, in case you didn't hear, the Harris County DA dismissed the charges, which were related to luring an underage lover online (in this case the two were playing the online video game "World of Warcraft").
Now it's Price's turn to take a few swings, and she is suing the officers who arrested her.
She claims in Houston federal court that a lieutenant with the Houston metro-area Internet Crimes Against Children Unit, plus an officer whose name is unknown, violated her Constitutional rights when they unreasonably searched her, and then battered and assaulted her.
According to Price's lawsuit, which was first reported by Courthouse News Service, her January 5 flight from Canada to Bush Intercontinental was stopped on the tarmac after landing and she was ordered to step forward. Police officers, who were waiting for her, yanked Price's bags from her, placed her in handcuffs and told her she was under arrest.
Price claims the officers did not tell her why she was being arrested and used excessive force. The officers allegedly rifled through the former teacher's bags and confiscated them before taking Price to the Harris County jail and booking her on two counts of online solicitation and one count of enticement.
News of the arrest was plastered all over the national headlines; however, six months later, the DA dropped the charges. A spokeswoman for the DA has said that investigators determined they would have had trouble proving Price knew the young man was in fact a teen. He had apparently told Price that he was 20. The prosecution was further hampered by the fact that the parents of the teen would not let their son testify.
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"At the time of the arrest," Price claims, the police officers had "no legal cause or excuse to seize [Price] other than sensationalized news reports of a 42-year old mother who traveled to visit her 16-year old Canadian friend."
Price has maintained from the get-go that she never committed a crime, for while the age of consent in Texas is 17, in Canada it is 16. The teen apparently left home to be with Price of his own free will, leaving a note for his mother at their Barrie, Ontario home saying he was running away with Price.
Police in Canada searched for the boy, and later found the two at a hotel. While Canadian police did not charge Price with any crime, as none was committed there, they did tell Houston-area police when Price would be arriving home.
In addition to her other claims against the officers, Price is also suing for illegal imprisonment and false arrest.