Woman sexually assaulted by Cleotha Henderson is suing City of Memphis

The woman who police say was abducted and sexually assaulted by Cleotha Henderson in 2021 is suing the City of Memphis, accusing the Memphis Police Department of not investigating the sexual assault adequately and with due diligence.

The woman filed suit Tuesday in Circuit Court in Memphis, saying she suffered “physical and emotional injuries,” which require ongoing medical and mental health treatment. She’s seeking unspecified damages.

Henderson, also known by the last name Abston, who investigators say is responsible for the abduction and killing of Eliza Fletcher, was indicted September 8 for a 2021 sexual assault and kidnapping.

The indictment came after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, during routine DNA testing in late June, analyzed the rape kit that was taken September 21, 2021. The kit came back on August 30 and returned a CODIS hit for Henderson September 5, two days after he had been arrested in connection with Fletcher’s abduction.

Cleotha Henderson, 38, appears in court Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, in Memphis, for charges in connection to a 2021 rape and kidnapping.

The lawsuit details how the woman met Henderson over a dating app and knew him as “Cleo.”

The two met for a date at The Lakes at Ridgeway, the same apartment complex he was arrested at in early September. When they met outside of an apartment, Henderson pulled a gun and forced the woman into the apartment, before blindfolding her and threatening to kill her, before raping her in a car behind the apartment.

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