Two Montgomery County police officers have been named as defendants in a $10 million lawsuit filed by a Forestville man who claims that the officers suppressed information that would have prevented his conviction on rape and robbery charges two years ago.
The suit was filed at U.S. District Court in Baltimore yesterday by Paul Theodore Sibole, a 31-year-old carpenter, who served seven months of a 21-year prison sentence before being released when another man confessed to the crimes.
Sibole alleges that he would not have been sent to jail at all had it not been for the actions of Richard Swain and O. J. Lennon, the policemen who investigated the incident, arrested Sibole, and testified against him in court.
The suit claims that, while Sobile was in jail awaiting trial in October, 1974, police in Prince George's County were investigating a similar rape that could not possibly have been committed by Sobile.
The suspect in that rape allegedly had the same physical characteristics as does Sobile, according to the suit. In addition, the Prince George's County rape was perpetrated in the same manner as was the one for which Sobile later served seven months in prison, the suit alleges.
The officers "maliciously" withheld the informations and Sobile subsequently was convicted, the suit alleges. The Prince George's County suspect later confessed to the rape for which Sobile had been convicted. Sobile then was released, according to the suit.
The two officers could not be reached yesterday for comment.