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County pays out $60,000 to settle lawsuit

St. Croix County and its insurance company have paid $60,000 to settle a federal lawsuit brought by a young woman who claimed she was illegally searched in the county jail when she was 16.

This settlement - paid to Jessie Cramer, Hudson - comes nearly a year after St. Croix and its insurance company paid almost $7 million to settle a class action lawsuit involving about 2,000 people who were allegedly illegally strip searched in the jail.

A copy of the Cramer settlement agreement was received last week through an open records request. In the document, the county and its agents deny liability for Cramer's claimed injuries and damages.

The release says the claim is disputed and the payment "is not to be construed as an admission of liability..."

The agreement prohibits the parties and their attorneys from commenting on the suit or settlement.

Cramer was a 16-year-old 11th-grader at Hudson High School when she was arrested April 21, 2002, for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. In her federal suit, filed in April 2004, Cramer claimed she was subjected to an "invasive, unnecessary and unreasonable" search while being booked into the jail.

The suit named former jailer Dana Krahenbuhl and the county as defendants.

In a Sept. 18, 2003, deposition, Cramer said when she was booked into the jail she was asked to remove her clothing and squat facing a wall. Cramer said that after the search she was given an orange jail uniform and taken to a cell.

In an earlier interview, Cramer's attorney, Barbara Miller of Hudson, said her client's claim wasn't made part of the class action because it occurred after the Feb. 27, 2001, cutoff date for the larger suit.

In the summer of 2002, the county and its insurance company also paid $10,000 apiece to settle claims brought by two 17-year-old girls who said they were strip searched after being brought to the jail Feb. 15, 2001, on underage drinking charges.