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article imageOp-Ed: When a rapist wears a badge

By Alexander Baron     Feb 10, 2014 in Crime
Police officers can get away with murder in the course of their duty. Some think they can get away with rape too. Fortunately, they are mistaken.
If you don't believe that first statement is true, ask the families of Mark Duggan or Kelly Thomas. There are some who believe the privilege money can't buy allows them to get away with rape too. Unfortunately for them though not for you ladies, they are wrong.
You see, shooting an unarmed man dead or even beating one to death can be classed as "bent for the job," while rape is always "bent for self," as the following recent cases demonstrate.
Wayne Scott served as a police officer for 10 years before he was brought to book. On November 1 last year he was convicted of raping two women. There were concerns about his conduct as early as 2003, although making "inappropriate comments" to a colleague can hardly be construed as grounds for believing a man to be a sexual predator.
Seven years later, a woman claimed he had sexually assaulted her while being arrested, and the following year, 2011, another woman made a similar claim. This allegation led to him facing a misconduct hearing, which led in turn to his being sacked. After this, Cleveland Police took a closer look at him, which resulted in him being tried for rape in October last year, and convicted.
On December 23, Scott was given a 19-year sentence for seven rapes, two common assaults, one sexual assault and two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual touching.
On January 30, James Wharton, MP for Stockton South, claimed Scott had trawled police computers to find the personal details of no fewer than 31 women.
Stephen Cooperwhite was every bit as odious an individual as Wayne Scott, although he received only a six-year sentence in March 2013 after he was convicted of raping two women.
At the time of the first rape, he had not yet joined the police, but his victim was pregnant, and for medical reasons, the assault could have damaged her unborn child.
His second victim was a trainee police officer. Cooperwhite was exposed in 2010, but it took until last year to convict him.
This case was back in the news last month when his first victim was awarded criminal injuries compensation after first being refused. Incredibly, the Daily Record revealed that Cooperwhite had been suspended on full pay for three years while the claims against him were investigated.
If the sentence handed down to Stephen Cooperwhite in particular sounds slightly on the lenient side, the same cannot be said for Mokolo Molekoa, who received a sentence of 284 years at South Gauteng in South Africa. As well as a police officer, Molekoa was not simply a rapist but a serial rapist who was convicted of attacking 16 women.
Rape cases are often controversial for many reasons. One is that victims — real and imagined — often come forwards weeks, months, years and in some cases decades after the rape did (or did not happen). The recent trial of William Roache saw testimony from women who were clearly lying through their teeth. There are however cases in which women do not report being raped for perhaps understandable reasons. One of Wayne Scott's victims said she never came forward because he was a police officer, and didn't think anyone would believe her.
While police officers must be protected from false allegations, there are things that can be done to eliminate or at least to minimise these when they are of a sexual nature.
The simplest way is to apply Biblical wisdom; a male police officer should search a female only in exceptional circumstances. This rule should apply not simply to the police but to other bodies. The shocking case of young mother Monica Contreras is all the evidence needed to affirm this point.
Police officers should also always keep a professional distance between themselves and people with whom they come into contact. If they don't, this can lead to problems not simply of a sexual nature but of a conflict of interest. This rule should be enforced more rigidly than it is now under the general rule of professional conduct.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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