A federal grand jury has indicted a Chicago police officer on charges of illegally detaining a trans woman and forcing her to perform sexual services against the threat of going to jail. The officer was a 29-year veteran with the force when he resigned in 2019. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He also faced a civil complaint filed by the victim. The complaint was settled in 2020, but little is known about the details of the settlement.
The same officer was accused in another complaint of sexual misconduct after demanding that a woman he had just pulled over follow him to an alley, where he proceeded to masturbate. That lawsuit was settled in 2019. Now, the officer is facing criminal charges related to sexual misconduct under the color of law. As of 2019, the officer had faced 44 complaints. The officer has been charged with deprivation of rights under color of law, a federal crime that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Since the allegations include sexual abuse, kidnapping, wrongful imprisonment, extortion, and whatever else, prosecutors will be looking to place the officer behind bars for as long as they possibly can.
Analyzing the charges
It is likely that the feds pursued the case because they did not believe that Chicago P.D. would remove the man from the force. After facing 44 complaints since he joined the force, at least two of which contained allegations of sexual misconduct, the man remained on the force until this last allegation. At the time of the indictment, the officer had attained the rank of sergeant. He was briefly suspended for possessing or selling drugs, but there have been no other reprimands against this officer in the 30 years he remained a member of the Chicago P.D. It is likely that there are more than two victims, as these types of perpetrators tend to continue their behavior until they are stopped.
Nonetheless, the prosecutors will paint a picture of an officer who is a sexual predator and uses his position to commit sex crimes against the general public. He probably targeted a trans woman because he thought that no one would believe her. Traditionally, members of the LGBT community are not forthcoming with police officers after years of being targeted for moral turpitude, making them an easy target.
This case will be worth watching because it is unclear how the judge or prosecutors will arrive at a fair sentence. It is perhaps rare that police officers commit such crimes and rarer still that the allegations make their way into the court system. Sentencing will depend on what can be proven in court, how well the witnesses and victims do on the stand, and whether or not prosecutors can bring in prior complaints against the officer.
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