United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K.E. Mahoney Chief United States Magistrate Judge
Walz and his parents, Candi and Timothy Walz, (collectively,
the Walzes) brought claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
state law after Tanner,  then a minor, was arrested and charged
with three counts of sexual abuse in the third degree under
Iowa law. The state prosecutor ultimately dismissed the
charges (after the court granted Tanner's suppression
motion). The Walzes primarily argue that the Tama County,
Iowa, sheriff's deputies that conducted the investigation
of Tanner ignored exculpatory evidence and failed to conduct
a thorough investigation before arresting Tanner. The
Defendants, Tama County and Tama County Sheriff's
Deputies Brian Randall, Joseph Quandt, and Dennis Kucera, now
move for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. Doc.
37. The Walzes resist. Doc. 46. I grant the
motion for summary judgment (Doc. 37).
facts in this section are recited in the light most favorable
to the Walzes, the nonmoving parties. On Monday, September
26, 2016, at around 7:50 p.m., on-duty Sheriff's Deputies
Randall and Quandt had just finished their dinner break at a
restaurant when a woman named Angela stopped them in the
parking lot and said that her sixteen-year-old daughter
had been raped by Tanner the previous Saturday night. Def.
SOF ¶¶ 5, 7-8; Pl. Resp. SOF ¶¶ 5, 7-8;
Pl. SOF ¶¶ 16, 31-38; Def. Resp. SOF ¶¶
31-38; Def. App. 29, 227. Angela said that she and her husband
had not been home and that H.P. had invited three boys over
to the house, including Tanner (Angela also named the other
two boys). Id. The deputies asked H.P., who was with
her mother, where the incident took place, and she said on
her bed in her bedroom. Id. The deputies advised
Angela to take H.P. to the hospital for an examination, but
first, they requested to accompany Angela and H.P. to the
house to gather the clothes H.P. had been wearing Saturday
night. Id. The deputies followed Angela and H.P. to
their residence and obtained the clothes H.P. had been
wearing, as well as bedding and a towel that had been on the
bed during the alleged rape, none of which had been washed
yet. Id. They instructed Angela to take H.P. to the
hospital and not to ask her any questions about the incident,
informing her that they would set up an interview with H.P.
through the Child Protection Center. Id. A deputy
later went to the hospital to pick up the rape kit from
H.P.'s examination (which was never tested, since whether
a rape occurred ultimately turned on the issue of consent).
next evening, Deputies Randall and Quandt talked with Angela
at the sheriff's office. Def. SOF ¶ 9; Pl. Resp. SOF
¶ 9; Def. App. 30-31, 227-28; Def. Ex. D (video
recording of interview). Angela explained how she had found
out about the rape on Monday: She saw a message on H.P.'s
phone from Tanner's girlfriend asking if there was any
truth to the rumor that H.P. had slept with Tanner on
Saturday night. Angela asked H.P. whether the rumor was
true, and H.P. said yes. H.P. told her mother that Tanner had
called her from another boy's Facebook account on
Saturday, asking to come over, and when H.P. responded she
was not allowed to have guests over without her parents being
home, Tanner told her it would be fine. During this
conversation, Angela and H.P. were in the car, driving
through town, and Angela drove past a restaurant, where she
saw a marked squad car. Angela wanted to talk to her husband
about what happened, so she stopped at a gas station. Her
husband talked to H.P. briefly about what happened while
Angela went inside and purchased a soda, and Angela and H.P.
got back in the car. Thinking that H.P. had consented to sex
with Tanner, Angela asked H.P. whether they had used
protection. H.P. said no. Driving at the time, Angela slammed
on her brakes and asked, “Are you flipping kidding
me?” H.P. stated, “I asked him if he had
anything, he told me no, and I said, then we're not doing
anything, and he did it anyway.” At that point, Angela
believed that H.P. had been raped and was furious about it,
and she went to the restaurant to talk to the officers.
in the interview, Angela relayed additional details that she
had learned from H.P. She stated that the two other boys at
the house had been in a different room during the rape.
Angela said she had not gotten the whole story from H.P.,
noting that the two other boys might have been in the
“wrong place” at the “wrong time, ”
but “by that same token, they were in on the
conversation and they knew what was going on and they did
also told the deputies what she knew about Tanner and
H.P.'s relationship. Tanner and H.P. had been in the same
math class the previous year, and H.P. had tried to befriend
Tanner, a troublemaker in class. Angela also said that Tanner
had been to their house on one prior occasion, at the end of
the previous school year for a bonfire. Angela stated Tanner
had shoved another boy (who once dated H.P.), and
Angela's husband had told H.P. that Tanner was banned
from coming over again in the future. Angela also indicated
that when Tanner came over on Saturday night, H.P. thought
Tanner and his girlfriend were no longer together.
told the deputies that she had gone to the school earlier in
the day and learned that H.P. had talked to some school
employees about what happened. Angela indicated that H.P. was
very close with her resource-room teacher and had talked to
her about having sex with Tanner at school on Monday,
portraying the encounter as consensual. Angela also said that
H.P. had talked to the two school guidance counselors.
According to Angela, the guidance counselors said that H.P.
described what had happened as a hypothetical and asked for
their advice, and she later described what had happened as if
she had dreamt it (which the deputies noted was a common
coping device for sexual assault). It is unclear from
Angela's interview whether H.P. portrayed the incident as
consensual or not to her guidance counselors, but the
deputies indicated in their depositions that if H.P. had told
her teachers she was raped, they would have had a duty to
report it. Angela also indicated that H.P. had talked about
what happened with a friend via text message that day
(Tuesday) after her friend asked why she was not in school.
expressed concerns about H.P. having to see Tanner, the two
other boys, and Tanner's girlfriend at school. Deputies
Randall and Quandt indicated that a no-contact order between
H.P. and Tanner would automatically be put into place once
they filed charges but that H.P. did not have a good chance
of success at obtaining a no-contact order before then. At
the conclusion of the interview, the deputies indicated they
would schedule H.P.'s interview with Child Protection
Services the next morning, and they instructed Angela to make
sure H.P. brought her phone to the interview so they could
take pictures of the messages from Tanner's girlfriend.
Angela asked whether they would need to seize H.P.'s
phone, and the deputies indicated there was no need, since
Angela knew about the relevant evidence on H.P.'s phone
due to her close relationship with her daughter.
Randall and Quandt did not investigate the matter further
until the Child Protection Services interview with H.P. that
took place on Friday, September 30, 2016. See Def.
SOF ¶¶ 10-12; Pl. Resp. SOF ¶¶ 10-12;
Def. App. 38-96. At the interview, Deputies Randall and Quant
took pictures of the Facebook message that Tanner's
girlfriend had sent to H.P. on Monday about the “rumors
that [H.P.] and Tanner had sex Saturday night.” Pl. SOF
¶ 46; Def. Resp. ¶ 46; Pl. App. 7. Deputies Randall
and Quandt also received the statement H.P. made at the
hospital during her examination on Monday night:
We were kissing. We were laying down. I don't remember
how it started but he took his shirt off and I told him I
don't want to do anything and he said why not. I said
because of the risks. I asked him if he even had a condom and
he said no. He said I didn't have to worry about anything
because he'd been with his girlfriend for a year and a
half and they'd done it a few times and she'd never
gotten pregnant and they didn't use a condom. Then he
took his pants off and his underwear and I kept telling him I
didn't want to do anything and he said it was just one
time and I didn't have to worry. He kept repeating that.
He started kissing me again and laid me down and took my
pants off. I kept tell him to stop and he never took my shirt
off but he pulled my tank top up and he kissed me up and down
like from my chest to where my underwear line would be. And
then he did what he did. He laid on top of me and had sex
with me and I just kept trying to push him off and I kept
telling him no. He took his clothes to the bathroom and got
dressed. Then he went to the living room with two other boys.
. . . After he had sex with me he forced me to put his penis
in my mouth too.
Pl. SOF ¶ 44; Def. Resp. SOF ¶ 44; Def. App. 232.
The records from the hospital also reflect that H.P. told the
nurse that she had never had sex before the date of the
assault. Def. App. 235.
made similar statements during the Child Protection Services
interview. See Def. App. 46-96. H.P. said that
Tanner messaged her on Facebook on Saturday from another
boy's account, asking if he could come
over. Tanner showed up with two other boys, and
they all went downstairs to watch television. H.P. asked
Tanner about his girlfriend, and he said they had broken up.
About five to ten minutes later, Tanner left the room. H.P.
went to look for him and found him in the laundry room. H.P.
gave Tanner a tour of the basement, and they ended up in
H.P.'s bedroom. H.P. said that the other two boys were
still watching television, and she slightly shut the door to
her room out of habit. H.P. and Tanner talked about their
math class the previous school year, and H.P. said that
Tanner put his arms around her waist, almost as if they were
slow dancing, and kept calling her pretty. H.P. said that
Tanner pulled her onto the bed and tried to get her to lie
down beside him. She said that “he had [her] arm,
” and her “other arm that [she] was holding
[herself] up [with] kind of slipped, so [she] went down,
” and she stayed lying down. Def. App. 64. H.P.
explained that then:
[H]e just started kissing me. And like I don't really
know how it happened. It just ended up happening. And I kept
telling him to stop. And he's like, It's okay.
It's okay. I'm like, No, stop. He's like, Well, I
won't do anything. I'm like, Don't. And he's
like, Well, what if I was somebody else? I was like, I still
don't want to do anything. And he's like, Why? Are
you scared of getting pregnant? I said, Well, yeah. And
he's like, Trust me, I was with [my girlfriend] for a
year and a half and we never used anything. And she's . .
. never been pregnant. I was like, I don't care. I
don't want to do anything. And I kept telling him no, and
he wouldn't stop.
Def. App. 66. H.P. told Tanner that even if she wanted to do
something with him, she would not have sex with him without a
condom, which he did not have. Def. App. 85. She talked about
how Tanner kept pulling her shirt up to expose her stomach
and bra and how she would pull it back down, and how she bent
her knees to make it difficult for him to pull her pants off.
Def. App. 67-70. H.P. said Tanner put his fingers in her
vagina once he had taken both of their pants off. Def. App.
87-88. H.P. said that Tanner put her legs on his shoulders,
and she “tr[ied] to force [her] legs back down”
and told him she did not “want to do anything, ”
but he “kept . . . trying to force [her] leg, ”
and eventually, she got tired of trying to put her leg down.
Def. App. 72-73. H.P. said that when Tanner tried to put his
penis in her vagina, she “put [her] hand on his stomach
and . . . kept trying to push him away” (but he was
eventually successful). Def. App. 73. Tanner said it would be
okay, and H.P. responded she did not “want to do
anything.” Def. App. 73. H.P. described the encounter
as her “repeat[ing] [her]self so many times.”
Id. H.P. said that eventually, she moved
Tanner's hands from her waist-adding that he let her move
them easily-by interlocking their hands, and she was able to
sit up (which she said she did to prevent anything else from
happening). Def. App. 82. She said Tanner told her to lie
back down, and then put his hands “behind [her] head, .
. . put [her] face down[, ] and . . . had his penis in [her]
mouth.” Def. App. 75-76. H.P. said when she finally
realized what “he was trying to do, like when [she]
went to move [her] hands to push him away, he had already had
[her] head like where [she] couldn't do anything.”
Def. App. 84. H.P. said she pushed Tanner away and told him
to go to the bathroom to put his clothes on. Def. App. 76.
H.P. got dressed in her bedroom, and she exited her room at
the same time that Tanner was leaving the bathroom.
Id. They went into the living room together, where
the other two boys were sleeping. Def. App. 77. Tanner woke
the boys up, and all three left.
told the Child Protection Services interviewer that the next
morning (Sunday), she had gone to work and had talked with a
friend at work (who she named) about what happened. Def. App.
79. Her friend advised her to tell her mother. Def. App.
79-80. H.P. posited that someone overheard her talking to her
friend at work, which is how the rumor about her and Tanner
spread around school.
said that at school on Monday, she talked to the
resource-room teacher and both guidance counselors. She said
that they “agreed with [her] that if it happened to
their kid, they would want [their kid] to tell them.”
Def. App. 80. H.P. said that she did not go into detail about
what happened-although she did tell them she had not wanted
Tanner to come over-and she did not “think anybody
really knew what [she] was getting at, that it wasn't
something that [she] wanted to do”; she said
“they all thought that it was something that [she and
Tanner] did because [they] wanted to.” Def. App. 81-82.
H.P. also indicated that she had learned from people at
school that Tanner had been at a bonfire before coming over
to her house on Saturday night and that he had been asked to
leave because he was drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.
H.P.'s interview, Deputies Randall and Quandt both agreed
they found H.P. believable and credible because her statement
was detailed and “virtually the same” as the
statement she made at the hospital on Monday night. Def. SOF
¶ 12; Pl. Resp. SOF ¶ 12. They believed they had
probable cause to arrest Tanner. Id. The deputies
made arrangements to pull Tanner from school and interview
him with his parents present. Def. SOF ¶ 13; Pl. Resp.
SOF ¶ 13. At first, Tanner repeatedly denied having been
to H.P.'s house on Saturday night or early Sunday
morning. See Def. App. 105-154. He stated that he
had been at his girlfriend's apartment around 10:00 p.m.
and gone to a bonfire at his friend's house, and that
after the bonfire, he went to a gas station and back to his
girlfriend's apartment. He denied being at H.P.'s
house, even when the deputies suggested they could talk to
his friends to confirm whether he had been there and when the
deputies stated they could test H.P.'s bedding for his
DNA. After Tanner wrote out a statement with his story, the
deputies asked him to swear under penalty of perjury that he
was telling the truth, reminding him that it was a crime to
provide false information to a police officer. At that point,
Tanner admitted that he had been to H.P.'s house, saying
“I did go over to her house, but she wanted it. She
convinced me. She forced me pretty much.” Def. App.
said that he and two other boys (the same boys H.P. had
named) went back to his girlfriend's apartment after the
bonfire. Tanner said that H.P. called one of the boys,
knowing Tanner was with him, and asked the group to come
over. Tanner said he talked to H.P. on his friend's
phone. H.P. convinced them to come over, and they watched
television in the basement for thirty to forty-five minutes.
After the other two boys had fallen asleep, H.P. told Tanner
to go to her room. Tanner said once in H.P.'s room,
“[H.P.] turned on music, and she said, Want to have
sex? And she kept talking about it, trying to force
[him].” Def. App. 159. Tanner said H.P. got on top of
him and started kissing him, took off her pants, and had sex
with him, even though he told her to stop. He said that after
she stopped, he went to the bathroom to put his clothes on,
and he and his friends left. He could not say whether they
used a condom. Tanner said he had lied at first because he
was scared he would get in trouble (he could not explain how
he would “get in trouble for being forced to have sex
with somebody”). Def. App. 155. Tanner said that he had
had sex one time before that night, a long time ago.
deputies left the room several times during the interview.
During one of those occasions, they called Amy Zeman, whose
son hosted the bonfire on Saturday night that Tanner had
attended. Def. SOF ¶ 16J; Pl. SOF ¶ 16. She
confirmed that she had asked Tanner to leave because she
thought “he was drinking and/or possibly doing
drugs.” Id. Prior to Tanner admitting to going
to H.P.'s house on Saturday night, Tanner twice denied
being asked to leave the bonfire (once with the deputies
present and once to his parents when the deputies had left
the room). Def. App. 118, 138, 145-46. After Tanner admitted
to going to H.P.'s house, Tanner continued to deny being
asked to leave the bonfire, drinking, or using drugs on
Saturday night. Def. App. 155-56.
deputies indicated that they were going to arrest Tanner.
Def. App. 166. Tanner's mother, Candi, asked what would
happen if the deputies discovered later that the encounter
was consensual. Def. App. 166-67. Tanner asked why he was
being arrested if he “got forced into it.” Def.
App. 167. The deputies said that they did not believe him,
they believed H.P. Def. App. 168. Tanner responded, “Of
course. Always believe the girl.” Def. App. 168. Deputy
Quandt said that they spent the morning with H.P. being
interviewed by Child Protection Services, and Tanner and his
mother requested the same interview for him, which was
denied. The deputies also indicated that they had decided to
arrest Tanner prior to his statement. Candi was upset that
Tanner was being arrested and asked that the deputies
investigate why rumors were going around about Tanner and
H.P. having consensual sex. Candi indicated that she had
heard about the rumors from Tanner's girlfriend. Candi
also gave the deputies the names of two of H.P.'s friends
(one of whom was the same girl that Angela had told the
officers H.P. texted with on Tuesday), stating that H.P.
bragged to those girls about having sex with Tanner at the
beginning of the week. Tanner also gave the names of three
other boys who might have heard H.P. bragging or that H.P.
“had tried to do the same thing to.” Def. App.
deputies arrested Tanner for three counts of sexual abuse in
the third degree. Def. SOF ¶¶ 17-23; Pl. Resp. SOF
¶¶ 17-23. On October 3, 2016, the prosecuting
attorney filed a formal petition charging Tanner with those
counts. Id. The deputies continued their
investigation through the month of October 2016. They
obtained sworn written statements from the three counselors
H.P. talked to at school on Monday prior to telling her
mother what happened. Def. App. 199-201. The resource-room
teacher, who H.P. had talked to first on Monday, stated that
H.P. told her she had sex with Tanner and that “it
wasn't suppose[d] to happen, it just did.” Def.
App. 199. She indicated H.P. said that Tanner's
girlfriend had found out and was upset. Id. The
resource-room teacher believed H.P. was most concerned with
telling her mother and wanted the teacher's opinion on
what H.P. should do. Id. H.P. also talked to her
guidance counselor on Monday, whose statement indicated H.P.
told her she had a dream about Tanner and told her friends at
work about it, and now they were spreading it around. Def.
App. 201. Later that day, the guidance counselor said she
received an email from H.P. saying “it wasn't a
dream, it really happened, ” but the counselor
indicated “she hadn't given any details so I
wasn't sure what she meant.” Id. Later on
Monday, H.P. talked to a different guidance counselor when
her guidance counselor was unavailable. Def. App. 200. His
statement indicates H.P. came to his office concerned about a
text message and about telling her mom something. Def. App.
200. H.P. showed him the text message from Tanner's
girlfriend (which mentioned sex between H.P. and Tanner), and
he asked if that was what she was afraid to talk to her
mother about. Id. H.P. said yes, and he advised her
to have a one-on-one conversation with her mom. Id.
His statement indicated he advised her to email her guidance
counselor, since “they had worked together that morning
on whatever was going on.” Id.
deputies also conducted interviews of one of the boys who was
at H.P.'s house with Tanner and two friends of H.P's
who she had talked to about what happened (including
H.P.'s coworker). Def. SOF ¶ 25; Pl. Resp. SOF
¶ 25; Def. App. 196-97. During his interview with Deputy
Quandt, Tanner's friend said that he met up with Tanner
around 10:00 p.m. on Saturday night, and they went to the
bonfire. Def. App. 196. He said that H.P. called him around
3:00 a.m. early Sunday morning via MSN messenger and asked
the boys to come over to her house, sending him a message
with her address. Id. He told Deputy Quandt that he
had already deleted the message, so he could not show it to
him. Id. He said that they watched television in the
basement, and H.P. was “all over Tanner.”
Id. He said H.P. went into her room and called for
Tanner to join her. Id. He said he peeked into the
bedroom once and saw Tanner “on top” of H.P.
Id. He estimated they were at the house for about
two hours, and he fell asleep. Id. He denied that
Tanner did any drinking that night. Id.
Randall and Quandt also interviewed H.P.'s friend who she
had worked with on Sunday and talked with (leading to the
rumors around school). Id. She said that H.P. had
told her that the boys had come over Saturday night and that
H.P. had had sex with Tanner. Id. She said H.P.
bragged about getting together with Tanner to her and other
people at work and seemed happy about it. Id. She
said H.P. never mentioned anything to suggest it was rape.
Id. She also mentioned the name of another friend of
H.P.'s, who she said H.P. told the encounter was
consensual. Def. App. 196-97.
Quandt interviewed the friend mentioned by H.P.'s
coworker. Def. App. 197. She said her understanding from H.P.
was that H.P. was texting Tanner on Saturday night, and
Tanner wanted to hang out with her, but H.P.'s parents
were not home. Id. Tanner showed up at H.P.'s
house, and H.P. told him he could not be there because her
parents were not home. Id. H.P. and the boys watched
television for a while, and then Tanner went into H.P.'s
room. Id. H.P. followed him to see what he was
doing. Id. Tanner would not leave her room.
Id. H.P. and Tanner sat in her room ...