Lawsuit claims Melbourne police lieutenant raped officer

Federal suit claims officer assaulted seven times over eight months

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

MELBOURNE, Fla. - A former officer with the Melbourne Police Department has filed a federal lawsuit claiming she was repeatedly raped by a superior officer over the course of eight months.

According to the lawsuit, the officer claims the assaults were committed by Lt. Pete Mercaldo, and they started in June 2015.

[RELATED: 2 Melbourne officers on paid leave after accusations of sex assault, use of force]

The lawsuit claims Mercaldo got the officer's address from the police department's database, then traveled to her home where he raped her.

She claims in the lawsuit that her supervisors asked her about bruises on her arm and her weight loss, but she said she was scared of Mercaldo and stayed silent.

"On numerous occasions, Mercaldo told Plaintiff that he was all-powerful at the police department; he told her to stay quiet and ordered Plaintiff to delete all the text messages from him."

According to the lawsuit, the assaults continued through December 2015, when the department forced her to resign, at which point she told her supervisors about Mercaldo, with no action being taken.

The lawsuit claims the sexual assaults continued after she left the department.

According to the suit, the officer is demanding her job back with benefits and seniority. She is also seeking lost wages and compensatory damages for her embarrassment, anxiety, humiliation and emotional distress.

The State Attorney's Office declined to prosecute any criminal case against Mercaldo.

City of Melbourne spokeswoman Cheryl Mall told News 6 on Monday that Mercaldo is no longer employed with the Melbourne Police Department and hasn't been for a while.

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