Free Minds & Free Markets

Sexual Violence and the State: 15 U.S. Cops in the News for Sex Crimes This Week

Alleged misconduct ranges from paying for sex to forcible rape, extorting sex through threats of arrest, and sex with underage girls.

kirstyhall/Flickrkirstyhall/FlickrIn the past week alone, more than a dozen U.S. cops and criminal-justice officials have made headlines as the subject of sex-crime investigations, indictments, trials, and lawsuits. The alleged misconduct ranges from the merely hypocritical (paying for sex) to the abhorrent—forcible rape, extorting sex through threats of arrest, sex with underage girls, and more. 

Seeing news like this week after week, it's hard not to notice that the people we empower to sanction sexual deviance and protect others from sexual abuse are some of the worst perpetrators of sexual violence and exploitation. Sure, these bad actors might just be highly visible outliers; this is a big country with a whole lot of police officers who don't misbehave. But many of these cases coincide with otherwise problematic parts of our criminal justice system—the war on drugs, criminalization of prostitution, erosion of due process, the tendency of police departments and prosecutors to protect their own—and highlight how these flaws make it easier for corrupt cops to harass, intimidate, and abuse people, especially those in the most precarious social positions. 

Oakland, California: 'Child Sex Trafficking' Scandal Keeps Expanding

At least five members of the Oakland Police Department (OPD) are accused of paying a teenage runaway for sex. So far, two of the accused Oakland officers have resigned and three are on paid administrative leave. In addition, the Oakland police chief resigned last week, citing personal reasons. This week, the Oakland City Council's Public Safety Committee endorsed a proposal to create an independent commission to take over the investigation, and the Oakland mayor removed interim police Chief Ben Fairow just six days after she appointed him without saying why. 

Meanwhile, the allegations have spread to five nearby police agencies and the district attorney's office. The now-18-year-old woman, going by Celeste Guap, said in interviews with media that she had sex with more than two dozen law-enforcement officials from area police departments—some while she was still underage—in exchange for money and tips about planned prostitution stings in the area. Under federal law, paying anyone under 18 for sex is defined as sex trafficking, even if the minor is acting independently. (One needn't condone that definition to expect agents of the law to be guided by it.) 

Guap said she started having sex with local cops when she was 17, after meeting OPD Officer Brendan O'Brien. O'Brien, whose wife committed suicide in 2014, took his own life in September 2015. 

This week, one officer with the nearby Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office was placed on administrative leave, and the Richmond Police Department said several of its officers are under investigation. The Alameda County Sheriff's Office, meanwhile, said an independent investigation had cleared its accused deputies of any wrongdoing. On Wednesday, an investigator with the Alameda County District Attorney's Office was placed on administrative leave.

Helena, Montana: Confidential Informant Controversy

A former Helena, Montana, police officer faces a civil lawsuit brought by a woman who had been working as a confidential informant for a local drug task force. The woman alleges that Officer Lloyd Thompson initially threatened her with criminal charges and to have her children taken away if she did not have sex with him, and things eventually escalated to physical violence as well. The suit claims Thompson also sexually abused four other female confidential informants working for the drug task force, and that he drank alcohol and used meth while on duty. 

Salt River, Arizona: False Arrest

A Salt River police officer was arraigned Tuesday on charges of kidnapping, sexual abuse, unlawful sexual conduct of a peace officer, assault, and tampering with evidence. The officer, Jay Wu, is accused of arresting a woman and then driving her to an alley and sexually assaulting her before letting her go. 

Montgomery, Alabama: From Noise Complaint to Sodomy

Montgomery Police officer Deonte Hamner is being held in county jail on first-degree sodomy charges after he allegedly assaulted a man whom he had pulled over for a noise complaint. The Montgomery Police Department (MPD) has initiated disciplinary proceedings against [Hamner] after charging him in connection with the sexual assault of an adult male," MPD said in a statement. 

Honolulu, Hawaii: Ongoing Abuse

Honolulu police officer Jessie Laconsay was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday on four counts of first-degree sexual assault and two counts of third-degree sexual assault. He's accused raping a friend's 14-year-old daughter on multiple occasions. 

DeKalb, Illinois: Campus Rape

On Thursday, a judge rejected a motion to suppress statements made by former Northern Illinois University (NIU) police officer Andrew Rifkin, allowing the case to proceed to trial. He's accused of sexually assaulting an NIU freshmen in 2011. The case was complicated by a previous court finding that the NIU Police Department had botched evidence in the case, a ruling that led to the firing of NIU Police Chief Donald Grady. 

Dorchester, Massachusetts: Probation Pervert

William Averill, a probation officer with the Dorchester Municipal Court, was arraigned Wednesday for rape, indecent assault and battery, and assault with intent to rape. Averill is accused of sexually assaulting a young woman whom he was supervising during her one-year probation sentence for larceny and receiving stolen property. 

Killeen, Texas: Official Oppression 

On Wednesday, Killeen Police Officer Christopher R. Morris was indicted by a grand jury on charges of sexual assault and official opression, after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her in December. Morris was placed on administrative leave through June 6, when detectives concluded there was sufficient evidence to support criminal charges. They sent the case to the Bell County District Attorney for review and Morris was fired. 

Miami, Florida: From Sexting to Suicide

Broward County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Kreg Costa, 43, was taken into custody last Thursday and booked on 29 charges, including sexual assault, possession of child pornography, lewd or lascivious conduct, and using a computer to lure a child. The investigation started after colleagues discovered him watching porn at the office, on his work computer. After searching the computer, they found he had been visitng "hardcore pornography" sites and also found sexually-explicit emails, messages, and videos he had exchanged with a 16-year-old girl. On Wednesday, Costa was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Muscatane, Iowa: DUI Diversion

Former Muscatane police officer Tom Tovar was convicted by a jury of sexually assaulting a woman whose boyfriend he arrested for drunk driving. 

Photo Credit: kirstyhall/Flickr

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    ...this is a big country with a whole lot of police officers who don't misbehave.

    And if you don't believe that, a prosecuting attorney will be more than happy to convene a grand jury to prove it to you.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    What is the point of having the badge if you can't use it to get what you want?

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    By get, you mean take?

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    Eminent domain writ small.

  • R C Dean||

    a whole lot of police officers who don't misbehave.

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

  • ||

    To be honest, when everyone is a potential sex monster, at least come cops have to show up on that list. And keep in mind that the job of cop attracts more than a fair share of sociopaths and psychopaths. I mean really, 'hey anyone like a job where you can bull people and even shoot them and their pets, with absolutely no accountability?'. Yeah, that's not going to attract any mentally disturbed sickos.

  • Free Society||

    To be honest, when everyone is a potential sex monster

    *cough* Elizabeth *cough* Nolan *cough* Brown *cough*

  • This Machine||

    The mind reels. What a bunch of sick fucks.

  • The Fusionist||

    COP TO GIRL IN BAR: "Hey, baby, your face matches up with my database...let me see...oh, too bad about those unpaid parking tickets, but I think we can work something out..."

  • Inigo Montoya||

    I'm sure the officers in question will testify that the alleged victims had made furtive moves that caused them to feel threatened because of the War On Cops.

    The important thing is that these brave cops all got home safely.

  • The Fusionist|| their happy wives.

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    Not only are the Oakland cops evil, they're stupid.

    Celeste Guap's Facebook page, which was set to public at the time, detailed her encounters with each of these cops.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    She looks like a slightly less unattractive snookie.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Snookie is the shame of the Hudson Valley.

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    Guapa is very misleading.

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    Huh. Still set to public:

    Celeste Guap feeling exhausted at Richmond Police Department.
    June 14 at 8:39pm · Richmond ·
    Questioned by police almost 12hrs straight...I'm just tryna clear names just cause I know a cop doesn't make him bad ...

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    'Lisbeth Nolan Brown, your fascination with all things sex intrigues me.

  • Brian||

    If regressives think work is slowing down, and they wan to bastardize the definition of human trafficking beyond recognition, then they should be ready for the day we discover that, lo and behold, government agents are engaged in human trafficking.

    Here's a list of keywords to help you respond:
    white male patriarchy sensitivity training quotas diversity goodness best brightest

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I understand the argument that every population has its sick fucks, but given the power that is delegated to police officers we are justified in holding them to a higher standard.

  • Eman||

    we absolutely should! the same way your employer could fire you for doing something perfectly legal. Im not sure we should go as far as assuming cops are guilty, but I don't think we'd be wrong to do so.

  • Sir Digby Chicken Caesar||

    The theme for this article?

  • bacon-magic||

    What a nut punch ENB! Good article. *rubs groin...wait a minute, that sounds perverted

  • R C Dean||

    Hit the spot, did it?

  • Free Society||

    Deonte Hamner is being held in county jail on first-degree sodomy charges

    Butt raped by The Hammer. I'd say "you can't make this shit up" but that's a fantastic porn name.

  • Free Society||

    *Hamner. That's a shame.

  • Pay up, Palin's Buttplug!||

    Close enough!

  • Crusty Juggler||

    He forced the guy to give him oral sex at gunpoint.

  • Free Society||

    Is that sodomy? I thought sodomy was all about the anus. Learn something new everyday...

  • RBS||

    Like most things, the definition has expanded.

  • Granny Weatherwax||

    Actually the old timey definition of sodomy was anything in anywhere other than missionary PIV. The anal-only definition is of more recent vintage.

  • R C Dean||

    Dang. Granny's got game.

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    "He's accused raping a friend's 14-year-old daughter on multiple occasions"

    Don't leave me hanging! Are they still friends?

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    "On Wednesday, Costa was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound."

    See? Some cops DO have integrity.

  • RBS||

    Eh, cowardice really.

  • GILMORE™||

    five members of the Oakland Police Department (OPD) are accused of paying a teenage runaway for sex.

    I'm confused. Aren't we pro-legalization & normalization of sex-work?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    This is a useful and thoroughly depressing article.

  • Malcolm Kyle||

    "It's happening (rape by cops) probably in every law enforcement agency across the country," Chief Bernadette DiPino of the Sarasota Police Department in Florida told the AP. "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."

  • R C Dean||

    they think every other police officer is going to be then out to get them.

    Gee, why would they think that?

  • R C Dean||

    The Alameda County Sheriff's Office, meanwhile, said an independent investigation had cleared its accused deputies of any wrongdoing.

    I think you're missing some scare quotes.

  • Eman||

    "Montgomery, Alabama: From Noise Complaint to Sodomy"

    goddamn it you knew that's what I was going to call my memoirs!!

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    There's a web site which I've forgotten which lists cop crimes daily. I looked at it for a couple of weeks and gave up, too depressing. But ... the most common was DUI, IIRC, and it was also amazing to me how many of the reports were not just citizen complaints, but cops fired and arrested for their crimes. That did give me a little faith.

    Google would probably find it after a bit of google-fu.

  • JTWright553||

    I never really though that it like that.

  • ||

    I think we can safely blame the "War on Cops" for these women not having the proper degree of fear after they have been violated by these fine boys in blue. Cops didn't have these problems before a good portion of the citizenry stopped worshiping them.


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online