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Keeping the public safe is the most important part of a police officer’s job. Unfortunately, not every law enforcement officer honors the pledge to protect others from harm. In some cases, police officers themselves present a danger to the public, using their position of power to engage in sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, voyeurism, fondling, forced oral sex, and rape. Some of the most common occasions where an officer can commit sexual misconduct include traffic stops, detentions and undercover investigations.
Many police sexual misconduct incidents occur during routine traffic stops. These situations, which often take place at night and in areas where there are no witnesses, can present an officer with the opportunity to take advantage of an unsuspecting individual. When a vulnerable citizen, such as an undocumented resident or someone in the possession of an illegal drug, is detained at a traffic stop, predatory police officers have exploited these individuals by demanding sexual favors in exchange for release. Other times, abusive officers target individuals who are too afraid to come forward with a complaint for fear of deportation or arrest.
Another common situation where police sexual misconduct occurs is when an individual is taken into police custody. When an individual is detained at a police station or in a police car, there is an opportunity for officers to abuse their power by commiting a sexual assault. It is not uncommon for individuals in police custody to be detained in handcuffs or other restraints making it difficult for them to defend themselves from sexual misconduct.
Unscrupulous officers can use the pretense of an undercover investigation to engage in sexual misconduct. Certain types of undercover police investigations lend themselves to creating opportunities for a police officer to violate an individual’s trust by committing sexual assault. For example, investigations of prostitution rings or sex trafficking operations frequently include officers posing as customers, which provides them access to vulnerable individuals, including domestic abuse victims, illegal immigrants, women addicted to drugs or alcohol, and underage victims. Recent investigative reports show over 50 percent of the police sexual misconduct complaints involved underage victims.
Sexual assault by a police officer is a type of police misconduct and brutality that violates the victim’s civil rights. When a police officer commits sexual assault, the emotional and financial toll of the trauma on the victim can be overwhelming. Under both state and federal law, police misconduct victims may be entitled to financial compensation for their damages. The first step in obtaining justice is to consult an experienced Philadelphia police misconduct lawyer who can help you navigate the complexities of civil rights laws.
If you were the victim of police sexual misconduct, you are not alone. The dedicated Philadelphia police misconduct lawyers at Williams Cedar will help you obtain the maximum amount of compensation to which you are entitled. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey to proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, Cherry Hill, South Jersey, and nationwide. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 215-557-0099 or submit an online inquiry form.