Friday, December 07, 2007

Rapist Or Sex Friend?

Chicago police sergeant John Herman who has been charged with raping a woman while on duty claims that they were "sex friends" and some people might view his defense as automatic reasonable doubt, but they would be making a serious mistake.

If the officer seems to believe what he is saying that could be a sign that he is revealing his rationalization. We need to remember that internal spin is not the same thing as true legal consent from another person. There is a legal difference between a man giving himself permission and a woman freely giving a man her permission.

If someone hasn't learned that difference, they are still a criminal if they violate the law. Don't notice that the speed limit dropped and you end up going 60 in a 30 mph zone? Sorry, you're still guilty of speeding. We expect people who drive to pay attention to the laws and to abide by those laws rather than letting them decide what they feel the speed limit and other traffic laws should be.

The prosecution in this case claims that Herman stopped the woman on the street and demanded to see her id. When she didn't have any with her, he allegedly drove her to her home in his police car. Once at her home, he allegedly raped her.

In a rapist's mind this woman's cooperation could be twisted into a mockery of consent since the officer likely didn't need to make an overt threat of violence to get the sex he wanted from an unwilling woman. Too many people would agree that if someone who reports rape doesn't scream and fight -- for whatever reason -- that person wasn't raped.

Since the sexual contact isn't being disputed then the case should come down to issues such as whether the man was on duty when he went to her house and whether the woman rode in his police car as alleged. If the supporting, verifiable details of her account are credible then her report is credible and should be treated with respect not baseless dismissal.

Update (12/12): The verdict is in and the answer is, "Rapist." The judge stated that the defendant's testimony was nothing short of perjury. Testimony by another police officer about an alleged bribe which the judge considered false may lead to action being taken against that officer.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:24 PM   0 comments links to this post

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