Lansing, NY – Nearly five years after two men were accused of sexually assaulting a disabled person, a sheriff’s deputy has been charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sexual assault.
The charges were confirmed in a report from the Ithaca Voice, which noted that both Tompkins County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Walters and another man named Matthew Pinney, are facing felony charges for an assault that was carried out in Walters’ home on Feb. 2, 2013.
There are very few details available about the victim of the assault. The report claimed the men “had sexual intercourse and sexual contact with a person who was incapable of consenting ‘by reason of being physically helpless.’”
It is not clear what the age of the victim is, how the victim is related to Walters, or under what circumstances the victim was “physically helpless” at the time of the assault. However, it does mean that the alleged victim was physically or verbally unable to communicate unwillingness—a shameful crime indeed.
After the indictments were unsealed, the men were arraigned by Schuyler County Special Prosecutor Joseph Fazzary, and they appeared before Judge John Rowley. However, despite the charges, the men were not taken into custody, and the report claimed that they have “until 5 p.m. Monday to post a $5,000 bail or $10,000 bond.”
In a statement to the Ithaca Voice, Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Dan Donahue said, “Walters’ employment status is a personnel matter, which cannot be discussed by this office. As this is not a Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office case, the Sheriff’s Office has been advised to refer all inquiries to Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph Fazzary, the prosecuting attorney in this case.”
While the department appears to have worked overtime to conceal the details in this case, it is likely that Walters is currently on a taxpayer-funded vacation where he is “suspended,” but is still receiving his salary.
As The Free Thought Project has reported, sexual abuse by police is not uncommon, and a 2016 study revealing that around three officers are charged daily, also noted that many of their charges are for horrific 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.”
While the victims of sexual assault by police officers are both women and men, there are also a number of victims who are children. In one case, a 19-year veteran of the El Paso Police Department was arrested for sexually assaulting a child in February. In another case, a teenager filed a lawsuit claiming that she was sexually assaulted by 30 officers who forced her to become a child prostitute.
An investigation into sex crimes committed by police officers found that between 2009 and 2014, at least 1,000 officers had this licenses revoked in 41 states for sexual offenses. While around half of the officers were fired for rape or forcing victims to perform sex acts to avoid arrest, several were found possessing child pornography and “about one-third of the officers lost their jobs for committing sexual offenses with juveniles.”
In the case of Deputy Scott Walters, he is scheduled to appear at the Tompkins County Courthouse again for a conference on Jan. 5. However, it will not be open to the public, and it remains to be seen whether further details from the case will be released.