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Former Alabama State Trooper Samuel McHenry To Appear In Court On Rape Charges

Alabama state trooper Samuel McHenry will appear before a Butler County judge next week in a preliminary hearing March 3rd.  36-year-old McHenry was arrested and fired in early December 2015 after the State Bureau of Investigations confirmed that there was truth to the allegations of his accuser, a woman who reported that McHenry raped her and forced her to have oral sex with him.

Prosecutors say that the woman was in a car accident December 6th of last year.  After McHenry arrived on the scene and saw pill containers in the car and an empty nasal spray bottle, he threatened to arrest her and put her in the caged off backseat of the patrol car.  McHenry then drove to another location, opened the door to the backseat and told the victim, “Fuck me or go to jail.”

The woman says that McHenry then pulled down his pants and forced himself on her.  The next day the woman reported the sexual abuse to the authorities and was given a rape test.  A sweep of the patrol vehicle revealed that semen was present.

McHenry has been charged with rape and sodomy and is currently out on bond. His attorneys are trying to block law enforcement from collecting a saliva sample from him as evidence.  This appears to be a tactic to stall the case from reaching a grand jury.

Their client is not the only cop who has made headlines recently for abusing his badge to rape women.  In December, former Oklahoma cop Daniel Holtzclaw, a predator who targeted disadvantaged black women, was convicted of 18 counts of rape and sexual assault.  His case stands as a relatively rare example of an officer having the book thrown at him — Holtzclaw received 263 years in prison, the maximum sentence for his crimes.

Last week, two LAPD officers were arrested for sexual assaults and rapes they committed against multiple women while on duty together as partners.

An Associated Press study of sexual misconduct and law enforcement was released late last year.  What it found was a real difficulty in obtaining accurate statistics on police officers fired for sexual misconduct because not all states keep records of decertified officers, and not all states strip offenders of their badges for sex-related crimes or prohibited on duty sex.  They did find that in the 41 U.S. states that provided data, over a six year period about 1,000 officers were fired for sexual misconduct.

Alabama, the state where Samuel McHenry will be prosecuted, decertified 20 officers over six years for sex-related offenses. Unlike many U.S. states, Alabama has records because local law enforcement must report to the state when an officer is arrested.

A study by the Buffalo News found 700 cases in the past ten years when officers were fired for sexual misconduct while on duty.  The statistics they collected indicated that road cops like McHenry are the most likely to offend.  The average age for an officer to be decertified for sex-related crimes is 38.  Only 6% of offenders were found to be rookie cops, suggesting officers wait until they reach a level with less supervision and more knowledge of how to work the system to commit sex crimes.

About Rebecca Lawrence

Rebecca Lawrence is a freelancer in Brooklyn, NY. She is owned by two blind cats. Tweet at her @rebeccalawrence

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Brock Turner credit: NBC News

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