Every time a football player or an NBA star makes headlines for domestic abuse, the country goes up in arms as news outlets talk about domestic violence among these industries. Because of this phenomenon, 69 percent of Americans think that there is widespread domestic violence in the NFL.
But the reality is that domestic violence among NFL players is well below the national average, coming in at just five percent. On the contrary, however, every time a police officer—someone who has sworn an oath to uphold the constitution and the law—beats their significant other, it barely registers as a blip in the media. This is in spite of some incredibly disturbing numbers when it comes to domestic violence among police.
The average rate of families who experience domestic violence in the country is around 10 percent. When we look at police officers families, however, that number quadruples. As the National Center for Women and Policing points out, two studies have found that at least 40% of police officer families experience domestic violence.
The most recent data on the matter shows that Officer-Involved Domestic Violence or OIDV, is a major problem.
Individuals who are the victims of domestic violence at the hands of police officer-batterers are often in a unique and particularly vulnerable situation. Unlike most victims of domestic violence, where the success of protective efforts depends on the cooperation of law enforcement, those subject to officer-involved domestic violence (OIDV) may, for a variety of reasons, be unable to secure the assistance they seek. This is particularly troublesome in light of increased rates of domestic violence in police officer families.
Even more startling than the fact that 40% of police officer families experiencing domestic violence is the fact that this number is likely far higher as it is estimated that much of it goes unreported. And, as the following horrifying story illustrates, the perpetrators of this domestic violence receive far less punishment than their counterparts in the civilian world.
When Jessica Woodrum told her husband, who was a Boone County police officer, that she was leaving him, she was kidnapped, tied down, and tortured for hours.
“I basically told him I was going, I didn’t ask, and he was just furious over it,” Jessica said. But her husband, former Boone County officer Kevin Woodrum wasn’t having it.
“He just grabbed me by the back of my neck and threw me down in the living room floor,” Jessica said.
For hours, Kevin Woodrum would savagely beat and quite literally torture this woman through the night.
After grabbing her, Kevin ripped her clothes off, forced Jessica into the upstairs bedroom where he literally tied her down.
“He tied my arms apart and my legs apart and he turned the heat off in the house,” Jessica said. “I just remember him reaching toward my head and grabbing my hair. I remember hearing it,” she described as Kevin ripped locks of hair from her scalp.
Kevin would then proceed to interrogate his estranged wife for hours, beating her if he received an answer he didn’t like.
“I guess every time I said an answer that he didn’t like, he would just punch me in the face,” Jessica said. “His goal was to break my jaw. What he did do was put both of his hands in my mouth, one down, one up, and just stretched it as far as it would go, which ripped my lips from the inside from my gums. I have breast implants and with all of his might would just try to bust them.”
This monster even waterboarded her.
“Why did he shove this sock in her mouth and put duct tape over it?” asked assistant prosecutor Jennifer Anderson during Kevin Woodrum’s trial. “He tied her to the bed, he poured water over her face, he burnt with a lighter, he beat her.”
“I remember saying, ‘I just don’t want to have to tell the kids you did this’ and he said ‘you did this’,” Jessica said.
That night, Jessica thought she was going to die.
“He said, ‘you know I’m going to kill you, right?’ and I said, ‘I do’ and he just looked at me and I said, ‘I’m ready, just do it’ and he choked me at that point until I passed out.”
After not hearing from Jessica, when the morning came, her family became worried and called the police. Woodrum was subsequently arrested on multiple charges and found guilty at a trial two years later.
According to WCHS, Woodrum was found not guilty of second-degree sexual assault and strangulation, but he was found guilty of four crimes: domestic battery second offense, malicious assault, assault during the commission of a felony and, the most serious charge, kidnapping.
He was sentenced to life in prison for his heinous crimes. Justice, as they say, had been served. Unfortunately, however, that justice was temporary.
While serving life, Kevin Woodrum appealed his case and because of a loophole in the law, the West Virginia Supreme Court overturned two charges: kidnapping and assault during the commission of a felony.
According to the state law, in order to actually “kidnap” someone, there needs to be an act of transporting that person. Because Kevin didn’t move Jessica to another location before he tied her up and tortured her for hours, the Supreme Court overturned the kidnapping charge, calling it “unlawful restraint” instead.
“They decided that we left out an element of the crime of kidnapping,” Keith Randolph, Boone County’s Prosecuting Attorney said. “Everybody in the sequence of the system up to the Supreme Court, viewed this particular crime as unlawful restraint with the intent to terrorize the victim. That’s how we indicted the case. The Supreme Court looked at the wording of the statute and said no, that’s not the case, there’s another element that requires transportation after one is unlawfully restrained.”
Now, because this monster didn’t move Jessica to another location before torturing her — as if that would have somehow been worse than what actually happened — Kevin’s life sentence has been dropped. He is now eligible for parole with his time served by December of next year.
“It’s very frustrating and we’re extremely disappointed for the victim and her family,” Randolph said.
Disappointment is an understatement. TFTP spoke with Jessica this week who told us she just can’t wrap her head around it.
“I can’t process it,” she told TFTP. “I can’t and won’t accept it until I’m forced to. The legal system has failed me and my children greatly and I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m hurt.”
Jessica will be forced to live in fear when this monster is let out of jail that he may snap again and reenact the nightmare all over again.
When asked why there is a need to point out the fact that the man was a police officer, not only is the above statistical information important but Jessica’s aunt explained that “it’s because that is what he would tell us. That he used to be an officer and did we really think they would let him go down. In fact once when he was arrested for choking her the other officers let him come over to our car and hug her! What was that? Then he beat us home and didn’t even spend a night in jail!”
Jessica said they have a meeting on Friday with the federal prosecutor, “so our entire community is still holding out hope” that something is done to keep this man where he belongs.
When we asked Jessica if we could tell her story, she told us that “there is nothing private about this, or too intrusive. I want everyone to know just how broken this system truly is.”
Indeed, when a former cop can commit the crimes that Kevin Woodrum committed and do only a few years behind bars, this system is broken.
Friends and family have setup a GoFundMe account for Jessica to help her fight this case and potentially secure her home to protect her family if this man gets out of jail. If you’d like to help her out, you can do so at this link.