Police Officer Sex Abuse Lawyer

It is common (yet underreported) for police officers and law enforcement officials to sexually abuse individuals in their custody. If you have been sexually abused by a police / law enforcement officer, contact our lawyers for guidance on the best way forward towards possible compensation.

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Key Takeaways

  • Police officer and law enforcement sexual abuse is more common than one may believe, but it is underreported
  • Corrupt police officers often seek out vulnerable victims with a criminal history to minimize the legitimacy of their claims
  • Lenient reporting laws, a drawn-out decertification process, and police unions have helped to create an environment that downplays the damage police officer sexual abuse can cause

Help for Survivors of Law Enforcement Sexual Abuse

Most people can agree that when police officers interact with civilians, the difference in power is evident. While most cops abide by the legal and moral responsibilities of the job, some police officers take advantage of their authority by subjecting civilians to sexual harassment and abuse. With thousands of cases of sexual abuse and assault going unreported each year, it can be even more difficult for victims to report the police for sexual harassment, who many of us have been taught to rely on, trust, and call upon in case of emergency. However, when someone is sexually abused by a police officer, who do they call?

Survivors of police officer sexual abuse may be reluctant to report the assault out of fear of retaliation or not being believed. If you have experienced police officer sexual harassment or abuse, contact the law enforcement/police officer sex abuse lawyers of Edwards Pottinger today for a free legal consultation.

What Are Examples of Police Officer Sexual Abuse?

Police officers are not above the law and are subject to the same consequences as civilians, but some corrupt cops will still use their badge, gun, and power of arrest to exploit or sexually harass vulnerable civilians or even their own colleagues within the police department. Common examples of police officer sexual abuse include:

  • Suggesting trading sexual favors for legal favors, i.e. getting out of a ticket or avoiding jail
  • Forced sexual contact with an individual restrained in handcuffs
  • Victimizing or taking advantage of domestic violence survivors
  • Sexual assault during a traffic stop or during an arrest
  • A corrections officer raping or sexually assaulting an inmate
  • Unwanted sexual jokes, comments, or conduct

Why Police Officer Sex Abuse Goes Unreported

While anyone can experience police misconduct, corrupt police officers often choose to take advantage of those whose sexual assault claims would be less believable and who may be less likely to fight back, including children, drug users, prostitutes, victims of domestic violence, or those with a criminal history. After a police officer sexually assaults a civilian or colleague, the survivor is often left feeling afraid, vulnerable, confused, violated, and alone. Attempts to file a claim with the district attorney are frequently met with obstacles or sent back to the police department, which may fail to investigate the case or may retaliate against the individual who was sexually abused.

All of this combined with permissive hiring practices, loose laws, and a lack of accountability can enable a culture of sexual misconduct. It is why sexual abuse committed by officers is sometimes referred to as a “hidden offense,” due to the assumption that a large amount of police sexual misconduct goes unknown.

Additionally, cops who are suspected sexual abusers must go through a lengthy decertification process before their law enforcement license can be revoked, allowing the crooked officer ample time to find a new job, according to an investigation by the Associated Press. In the same investigation into police sexual misconduct, reporters found that roughly 20 states only will decertify an officer if they are convicted of a crime, while 9 states told reporters they either do not decertify cops for misconduct or declined to answer.

Police Officer Sex Abuse Statistics

The data on law enforcement sexual abuse is lacking due to underreported cases, unions and jurisdictions that work to protect disgraced police officers, and the inability of the federal government to force states and law enforcement agencies to report claims of misconduct. Investigators and reporters have used news searches, interviews, published court opinions, and surveys to gather the following data:

  • Sexual harassment is the second most common form of police misconduct in America, behind the use of excessive force.
  • According to The Washington Post and a 2015 investigation by Buffalo News, court records showed that over a 10-year period, a police officer is accused of sexual misconduct at least every five days.
  • US police officers were charged with forcible rape 405 times between 2005 and 2013 for an average of 45 per year, according to research from Bowling Green State University. There were an average of 636 instances of forcible fondling per year.

Recent Law Enforcement Sex Assault Cases

  • In 2016, an ex-Oklahoma City police officer received a jury sentence of 236 years in prison for the repeated sexual abuse of 13 women. Prosecutors said the defendant selected his victims based on their criminal histories of drug abuse or prostitution.
  • In 2020, a Chattanooga, Tennessee police officer was sentenced to 20 years in prison for multiple instances of sexual misconduct, including the sexual assault of a civilian after an arrest.
  • In June of this year, a former suburban Atlanta police officer was sentenced to 25 years in prison for raping a woman during a traffic stop.

Sexually Abused by a Police Officer? Get Help Today

At Edwards Pottinger, our nationally-recognized sex abuse attorneys have the resources and experience necessary to hold law enforcement accountable in a lawsuit. We will investigate your case and build the strength of your claim, protect your privacy, advocate on your behalf, and fight for the compensation you could potentially be entitled to.

If you or a loved one have been sexually harassed, abused, or assaulted by a police officer, contact the sex abuse lawyers of Edwards Pottinger today to speak with a compassionate and qualified sex assault attorney about your case. Our legal consultations are confidential and free.

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