In the past 10 years, the Catholic Church has defrocked 848 priests who were convicted of sex crimes across the globe. In the last five years, nearly 1,000 police officers have lost their badges for sex crimes committed against fellow officers or citizens under their care. Although not nearly as advertised, an investigation by the Associated Press in 2015 found that sex crimes in the police force are surprisingly and shockingly common.
The 2014 Associated Press report found that sex crimes are the second most common complaint filed against police officers. Thousands of police officers are accused of rape, child molestation, sex trafficking, and child pornography. However, even though the AP found thousands of complaints, the news outlet indicated that thousands more incidences may go unreported for fear of police retaliation.
Chief Bernadette DiPino of the Sarasota Police Department in Florida, stated that many citizens are afraid to report police officers for any misconduct, but particularly sexual abuse. “It’s happening probably in every law enforcement agency across the country. 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,” she told the Associated Press.
One of the biggest problems resolving sex abuse in the police force is how each police office is independently run. There is no single entity to date that works to keep police officers operating by the law or the same set of guidelines. This makes reporting sexual abuse even trickier, as citizens must report the abuse to the employer of the alleged abuser, who might even be friends with the person who is in charge of investigating the report.
Sexual abuse lawsuits against police officers
Last year, several police officers were convicted of sexual abuse. One police officer was sentenced to 263 years in prison for sexually assaulting 13 women.
In November, a police officer from Milwaukee pled guilty to the murder of two women he hooked up with for rough sex. Another police officer was sentenced to 23 years in prison after he pled guilty to the sexual abuse of two boys.
In North Carolina, a police officer admitted to manufacturing child pornography. Another police officer from Louisiana was indicted for raping a male inmate at a local hospital.
These incidences just scratch the surface of the abuse and sexual crimes of some police officers. Although police officers should all be upstanding, law-abiding citizens, these sexual abuse cases show that many officers are anything but. Many corrupt police officers engage in physical and sexual abuse against the individuals they come in contact with. Exposing the crimes is the first step toward making the police force safer and healthier for everyone.