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Victim Describes Sexual Assault By IRS Agent

Posted: 10:08 PM, Apr 28, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-29 13:58:44-04

She's the victim in a case that now has an Internal Revenue Service agent facing sexual assault charges.

In a new federal lawsuit, Deana Inman accuses IRS revenue agent Samuel Garza of violating her civil rights.

The story she tells in the lawsuit -- and the story she told us -- describe an official act of betrayal.

"If I had a fear, it was supposed to be how much money did I owe? It wasn't supposed to be that he put his hands around my neck," Inman said in an exclusive interview with NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

For nearly 30 years, Deana's market in Fairview, Tennessee, has been her home away from home.

But these days, it's a place that haunts her.

"I go to work and sit in my car and I cry," she said. "I walk around for a few minutes and I go into my office, pull myself together and I go to work."

Deana's world was shattered, she said, by the visit of Garza, a revenue agent sent by the IRS to check up on how her business handled checks from its customers.

"To be honest, anytime your hear that you're being audited, you know, it's scary," she recalled.

After Garza spent half a day in the store looking over her books, assuring her he was just there to help her comply with IRS regulations, he came back a second day.

Then, in a private office, Deana said, Garza had some bad news.

"He said, 'Well, I hate to tell you this but we're going to either take your business or you're going to go to jail,'" she recounted.

Her reaction?

"I started crying because he knows that my husband is disabled, mentally disabled, and he knows that I have an eight-year-old child."

As she fought back tears, Deana said, Garza asked her to look up something on the computer.

That's when he came up behind her.

"He put his hands around my neck and he started choking my neck," she said.

"Then he came around and he started kissing me and putting his tongue in my mouth.  And then he put his hands down my shirt.

"I kept telling him that it wasn't appropriate and that I just wanted him to stop and to please stop, he stopped. And he went back to the desk and he got really curt and really angry."

Deana said that Garza then demanded to see more of her files, following her into the room where those files were kept.

That's where, she added, the assault continued, growing even more intense.

"And I just blacked out. I couldn't remember anything from there."

When she finally came back to her senses, Deana said, the assault was still continuing.

"It was like being in a tornado and everything was spinning and I couldn't make it stop."

Garza eventually left, saying he'd be back the next day.

So Deana called Williamson County detectives, who rigged the office with recording equipment.

When Garza returned and again made a move against Deana, detectives moved in.

Garza now awaits trial on a 10-count indictment.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Dean, "Do you cry?"

"All the time," she answered.

Now, Deana tries to find peace with having been violated by an agent of the government that was supposed to protect her.

"I don't think anybody understands what I'm feeling right now," she said. "He was supposed to be one of the good guys.

"I play it over and over. You know, I try to figure out: 'Why didn't I hit him?  Why didn't I do this?'  And the only thing I keep coming back to is: he was the IRS. I don't know how you hit the IRS."

Garza's attorney, Gary Tamkin, declined to comment for this story, although Garza claims in court papers that everything that happened there was consensual.

Still, in the lawsuit and in a separate claim filed with the federal government, Deana's lawyer argues that this may not have been the first time that the IRS revenue agent behaved inappropriately with a female taxpayer.

We'll look at what the IRS knew -- or should have known -- when our investigation continues.

That's Friday night on NewsChannel 5 at 10 p.m.

Clip below to read Deana's federal lawsuit against Garza.