When the Police Are the Offenders

You’re speeding down the road after a night out with your friends. You’re in a good mood so the music and accelerator just got away from you. Then you see the blue lights in your rearview mirror. You’re being pulled over and you don’t have to guess why. Unfortunately, you got more than a speeding ticket.

It happens more often than we think. Police officers are taking advantage of their positions of authority and committing heinous sexual assaults against women and children all over the country. According to CNN, there were 461 police officers charged with rape between 2005 and 2014 in the United States, and based on news headlines, it doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Of the rapes charged, 49 occurred in California. That number doesn’t include allegations made that couldn’t be proved based on available evidence, or cases that may have been swept under the rug.

The research that was conducted by Bowling Green State University, which keeps a database on crimes committed by nonfederal sworn law enforcement officers, was compiled from Google search term hits alone. The true data on police officers committing sexual offenses is either non-existent or heavily protected from the public. In other words, this in no way encompasses complete figures of police officers committing these crimes, which also included:

Assisting or promoting prostitution                            54 charged (3 in California)

Forcible fondling                                                                      706 charged (80 in California)

Forcible sodomy                                                                       250 charged (60 in California)

Incest                                                                                               22 charged (2 in California)

Indecent exposure                                                                   127 charged (14 in California)

On-line solicitation of a child                                           91 charged (4 in California)

Pornography/obscene material                                      214 charged (19 in California)

Prostitution of another                                                        74 charged (6 in California)

Sexual assault with an object                                            59 charged (35 in California)

Statutory rape                                                                            206 charged (23 in California)

Other sex crimes                                                                       356 charged (57 in California)

If this data is only the result of search hits from Google that ended in 2014, just imagine what the actual numbers look like. A current Google search of just “sexual assault by police” pulls up a host of headlines:

  • Arcola police officer accused of sexual assault during traffic stop. The young officer is alleged to have had a female victim follow him to another location where she was then assaulted.
  • New Jersey Police Detective Pleads Guilty to Sexually Assaulting 2 Children. The former officer could serve 30 years in prison without parole for 48 counts he’s been charged with.
  • Former Westminster cop pleads guilty to civil rights violation in federal court for sexually assaulting woman in his custody. An officer was called to a hospital where a patient, seeking treatment for alcohol withdrawal, was reported for stealing medical supplies. The hospital declined pressing charges, so the officer offered to drive her home only to rape her in a secluded area before dropping her at home, leaving her with a threat not to disclose the attack. The former officer faces 10 years in federal prison and will be required to register as a sex offender.
  • Women and girls said a Hialeah cop sexually assaulted them. The chief gave him a raise. A well-respected officer coerced a child into being sexually assaulted in his vehicle in 2015, who he then threatened before letting go. The same officer has been accused of sexual assault by numerous women, one victim has died, public records and an unreported federal investigation have gone missing. Despite internal affairs gathering evidence of sexual and other misconduct, the officer went unpunished and was moved back to a SWAT team. The belief is that his family’s power in the community has undercut justice for the victims.

While police officers on the whole are trustworthy protectors, there’s clearly a segment of the force across the country that were maybe waving red flags that should have been seen before they were able to harm anyone. One of those flags is possibly part of the solution: don’t hire officers who have been fired from other agencies. Another solution may be that if an accused officer’s family holds authority in the community, a different department should be investigating his or her wrongdoing.

Some police officers are leveraging the public trust placed in them to hunt for victims of opportunity, and there’s plenty of that to go around. Because police officers spend their days and nights on duty maybe with a partner, maybe alone, they have virtually no one hovering over their shoulders watching their every move. This makes it easy to victimize vulnerable people who may not have the same trusted reputation behind them.

If you have been the victim of sexual assault, or one of your friends or family have disclosed an assault to you, Taylor & Ring is here to help victims seek justice and closure. A civil suit may be the best avenue to heal the unwanted devastation caused to your life by a predator who believed you to be an easy target. We will help you prove your attacker wrong by seeking the compensation you deserve from every available avenue. To speak with one of our skilled, supportive Los Angeles sexual assault attorneys, schedule your free consultation by calling us at 310-776-6390, or tell us your story by reaching out to us through our contact form.

Taylor & Ring offers comprehensive counsel to clients throughout California, and has the means to travel to meet with clients far outside the Greater Los Angeles Metro Area. To learn more about our services, please contact our lawyers serving: