The case of a New York City teenager who was allegedly raped by two NYPD officers while she was restrained in handcuffs has brought renewed focus to a disturbing legal loophole — in New York, and in 34 other states, police are allowed to claim that sexual encounters with people under their control are consensual.
An 18-year-old identified by the alias Anna Chambers has said she was sitting in a car with two friends when the two NYPD officers approached the vehicle and said they saw marijuana in the front cupholder of the car. The cops ordered her friends, both young men, to leave, then shuffled a handcuffed Anna into a unmarked police van that had tinted windows. The officers then allegedly took turns raping Chambers in the backseat before surveillance cameras saw them drop her off by the side of the road, just a quarter-mile from a police station. A rape kit taken in wake of the alleged rape identified her attackers as detectives Eddie Martins, 37, and Richard Hall, 33. Neither officer had filed an arrest, or even any paperwork, about having taken Anna into custody.
Anna, wearing sunglasses to cover her face, as she faces the two police officers indicted for kidnapping and raping her. She says she'll return for every court date. .@CBSNewYork pic.twitter.com/m1zaJO43mB
— Magdalena Doris (@MagdalenaDoris) January 18, 2018
Martins and Hall have both resigned from the NYPD and been charged with rape, but, because of a law that has been described as literal “institutionalized rape culture,” they will face only a misdemeanor “official misconduct” charge if Anna’s lawyers are unable to prove that the alleged assault was not consensual. In 2013, Alaska closed this loophole — as did Arizona in 2015. But in 2016, before Arizona’s reformed consent law took effect, a Phoenix police officer was acquitted of sexual assault after he claimed that a handcuffed woman had seduced him into having oral sex with her. Anna, for one, is wondering “how many other girls” must suffer before the law changes in New York — and nationwide.
Read the full story at BuzzFeed.