As Hollywood sex abuse continues to be exposed, victims and their families are finally starting to see the potential for justice and closure they have long-deserved. However, as the Weinsteins and the Spaceys watch their careers burn over the allegations of sexual misconduct, the media and essentially everyone else remains conveniently silent on the horrifying reality that is sexual misconduct by police.
“It’s happening probably in every law enforcement agency across the country,” Bernadette DiPino, chief of the Sarasota Police Department in Florida, told the AP. “It’s so underreported, and people are scared that if they call and complain about a police officer, they think every other police officer is going to be then out to get them.”
How is it that police sexual misconduct has escaped the massive #MeToo movement that has swept the nation since October?
On a near daily basis, a cop or former cop’s face makes the local newspaper with whitewashed headlines like Former deputy now charged with exploitation. Little attention is given to these stories despite the grim nature of them. For example, the aforementioned headline is from a small Minnesota town and involves a deputy who was arrested on multiple felony charges including child molestation, sexual misconduct with a child, and child exploitation. No one else picked up the story and it was swept under the rug.
The disgusting crimes that lead to these headlines happen often and blow the myth of the ‘bad apple’ theory completely out of the water. Just this month, two NYPD cops crimes were so bad they actually made national headlines when they were arrested for allegedly handcuffing an underage teen and brutally raping her in their van. As TFTP reported, officers who were allegedly acting on behalf of the rapist cops entered the rape victims hospital room and threatened her if she came forward with her accusations.
In 2014, TFTP put out a shocking report that highlighted 40 cops who were convicted or charged with spousal abuse, child rape, or other types of sex crimes just thirty days.
In spite of the rampant abuse, police sexual misconduct still manages to escape the spotlight. According to a recent report by Newsweek, the reason is fairly simple: fear and intimidation.
The victims have reason to be frightened—and, at the very least, to doubt investigators will take them seriously. In many cases they are trafficked girls, women of color, prostitutes, undocumented workers or just poor. Those were the types of women abused, for example, by Oklahoma City Officer Daniel Holtzclaw, who in 2016 was sentenced to 263 years in prison for rape and other sexual assaults involving eight victims. Holtzclaw faced charges only after a 57-year-old grandmother accused him.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the largest organization of police chiefs, is well aware of the problem, too. In 2011, a national working group it had convened published an executive guide for police chiefs, which read, “Law enforcement agencies and executives have a duty to prevent sexual victimization, to ensure it is not perpetrated by their officers, and to take every step possible to ensure the safety and dignity of everyone in the community.”
While independent researchers began tracking how many people are killed by cops every year, no one was tracking how many crimes were committed by cops. However, that is beginning to change, and the data shows that the problem is staggering.
Last year, a study exposed the startling fact that police officers are arrested about 1,100 times a year, or roughly three officers charged every day. Many of these arrests are over unspeakable sex crimes.
“Police crimes are not uncommon,” the study’s lead researcher Philip M. Stinson concluded. “Our data directly contradicts some of the prevailing assumptions and the proposition that only a small group of rotten apples perpetrate the vast majority of police crime.” Although nearly 60 percent of the crimes “occurred when the officer was technically off-duty,” Stinson wrote, “a significant portion of these so-called off-duty crimes also lies within the context of police work and the perpetrator’s role as a police officer, including instances where off-duty officers flash a badge, an official weapon, or otherwise use their power, authority, and the respect afforded to them as a means to commit crime.”
According to a report from WaPo, in cases involving allegations of sexual abuse, 72 percent of the officers were fired, and more than 80 percent resulted in convictions, the study found. There were 422 reported cases of forcible and statutory rape, 352 cases of forcible fondling and 94 sodomy cases over the seven years of the study, which Stinson called “larger than expected based on the existing research.” The data search turned up 174 examples of male officers arrested in cases of “Driving While Female,” in which women drivers were harassed or assaulted. About 82 percent of those cases ended in convictions.
A separate study as reported by the AP in 2015 found similarly shocking numbers.
— AP Interactive (@AP_Interactive) November 1, 2015
The probe revealed that 550 officers were decertified for various sexual assaults, including rape. Some were dismissed for sodomy or sexual shakedowns, where victims were forced to perform sexual acts to avoid arrest.
A further 440 officers lost their jobs for other sex-related offenses, such as possessing child pornography, being a peeping Tom, sending sexually charged messages to underage teens or having sex while on duty.
About one-third of the officers lost their jobs for committing sexual offenses with juveniles.
Another independent study found that sexual misconduct is the second highest of all complaints nationwide against police officers, representing 9.3 percent in 2010, according to a study by the Cato Institute’s National Police Misconduct Reporting Project.
In 2010, 354 of the 618 complaints involved nonconsensual sexual acts, and over half of those involved were minors.
Perhaps the most chilling aspect of police sexual misconduct is the likelihood of under-reporting. As the case of the NYPD cops intimidating the rape victim shows, police officers stand up for their own—even if it means protecting a rapist. When a person becomes a victim of police sex crimes, how can they be expected to go to the very people who employ their abuser and report it — especially given the fact that it is well known police will go to great lengths to protect their own.
“It’s happening probably in every law enforcement agency across the country,” said Chief Bernadette DiPino of the Sarasota Police Department in Florida, who helped study the problem for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “It’s so underreported and people are scared that if they call and complain about a police officer, they think every other police officer is going to be then out to get them.”
While it is certainly newsworthy to expose Hollywood pedophiles and sex abusers for preying on vulnerable actors and actresses, the level at which police sexual misconduct is ignored by the media is shameful.
Has the worship of the police state gotten so prevalent that it is considered taboo to mention the staggering rate at which police commit sex crimes? We hope not.
Please share this article with your friends and family to let them know America’s other dirty little secret about how often our ostensible protectors become de facto predators.