Widespread and entirely justified outrage has erupted over a California judge’s decision to give former Stanford University swimmer, Brock Turner, a six-month jail sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. Critics are blasting the decision as far too lenient, and they are right.
The special treatment given to Turner is indicative of a corrupt and biased system which grants special privilege to those with money and influence, and it is only natural for people to be angry when seeing such leniency applied to such viciousness.
That being said, however, the lack of outrage over police officers convicted of far worse sex crimes is despicable and equally as appalling as Turner’s slap on the wrist.
For years, the Free Thought Project has been reporting on case after case of police officers caught raping, molesting, and abusing their victims. All too often, these officers are let off with little to no punishment. Many of these officers were caught sexually abusing children only to be let loose in society after flexing their blue privilege.
Officer-involved sexual misconduct describes an entire subset of police misconduct that includes non-criminal complaints such as consensual sexual activity that occurs while an officer is on-duty, sexual harassment, up to felony acts of sexual assault or child molestation. Sexual misconduct was the second most common form of misconduct reported throughout a 2010 sample, with 618 officers involved in sexual misconduct complaints during that period — 354 of which were involved in complaints that involved forcible, non-consensual sexual activity such as sexual assault or sexual battery.
Of the officers associated with reports of serious sexual misconduct, 51% (180) were involved with reports that involved minors and 49% (174) involved adults.
Perhaps the most sickening aspect associated with the high rate of sexual assault among officers is the lack of punishment they receive. Below are a few of these horrific cases in which cops were convicted of sexual abuse and let off with a slap on the wrist.
In 2015, a former Manatee County Sheriff’s Lieutenant was sentenced for his sadistic and sickening acts against three children. Officer Dale Couch was arrested after children told authorities what he had done to them — violently sexually abused them.
He was charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under age 12, and a third charge of lewd and lascivious molestation against a 12-year-old child. Instead of being locked in a cage for the rest of his life, Couch flexed his blue privilege and was given 12 months probation — no jail time.
Just before Couch’s trial, we reported on the police officer who was caught with multiple hard drives full of child porn. All the charges were dropped.
The Free Thought Project also reported on the case of officer Christopher Allen Carson who orally forced himself onto a sleeping 7th grader and was only given a 30-day sentence.
And the list goes on.
Former state trooper, 36-year-old Samuel H. McHenry II, responded to a traffic accident last December, and, instead of helping the victim, he threatened to take her to jail because he saw an empty pill bottle and a nasal spray bottle in her vehicle, neither of which are illegal. He then restrained the woman and threw her in the back of the cop car, drove her to a secluded area and raped her. He then left her at a closed store, away from her car, and sped off.
McHenry pleaded guilty last March and was given a measly 180-day sentence, 180 days of which he would never have to spend in jail, thanks to his blue-privileged status.
In November of 2013, John Van Trump was accused of sexually assaulting a girl younger than six-years-old. Since the girl was younger than six, his charge was considered a super crime.
The details of Trump’s crimes were so heinous that they were not released publicly. We only know that Trump sexually assaulted the daughter of his former girlfriend on multiple occasions. At the time of the alleged crimes, she was 5.
On June 17, 2015, John Van Trump was convicted of sexually assaulting that little girl. However, instead of the minimum 25-year sentence he originally faced, Trump received far less time. In fact, he received no time, thanks to his police officer status.
A former Florida police officer of the year admitted to forcing undocumented immigrants into having sex with him.
Jonathan Bleiweiss, 34, pleaded guilty to an array of charges last year, admitting to 14 counts of armed false imprisonment, 15 counts of battery and four counts of stalking. However, he conveniently avoided all of the charges with “sex” in them.
Due to his police officer status, this former Broward Sheriff’s deputy was given an insultingly lenient plea deal. As part of that deal, Bleiweiss did not face charges of sexual battery, and as such will not be required by the state of Florida to register as a sex offender.
Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein called the outcome, “shocking and shameful to the whole county.”
The Sun-Sentinel reported on another contrasting case that played out in court on the same day as Bleiweiss’ deal. Eric Beasley, 25, a former high school teacher from Broward, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after admitting to having a sexual relationship with an underage student.
Both men obviously abused their positions of authority, and both men victimized underage teens. But only one of them did it to multiple victims. Only one of them carries a badge and a gun and throws people in prison for the same crimes he committed. And, only one of them was able to get special privileges for their depravity. The cop.
This article could go on to be hundreds of pages long. In fact, 1,000 policemen across the US had their licenses revoked and lost their jobs over the last six years due to sexual crimes while on duty, and this number is likely only a fraction of the actual cases that have occurred.
The outrage of Brock Turner’s sentence is necessary, but it is entirely disingenuous when the atrocious crimes of public servants and their lack of punishments go unreported and unchecked.