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Thursday, July 1, 2010

So When a Cop Forces Sex from a Prostitute, it Doesn't Count as Rape?

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 12:59 PM

The situation with this Beaverton cop on trial for sexually coercing women is getting sicker and sicker. It's gross enough that he forced prostitutes to perform oral sex on him under the threat of arrest if they refused, but the way the case is being handled in court is even worse. The Oregonian reports today that Beaverton officer Joshua Jensen, 25, was charged with (and plead guilty to) two counts of prostitution, two counts of official misconduct and one count of coercion.

As Dan Savage noted earlier this week, why isn't this "coerced sex" being treated as rape? Because the women involved were prostitutes.

The report of the incident reads like a scene straight out of Bad Lieutenant:

But with the second woman, Jensen asked her why he shouldn't arrest her. She replied that she wouldn't do it anymore.

He said, "Well, if there's something I want out of it," then unzipped his pants, reports show.

The woman told investigators and The Oregonian that Jensen then "grabbed me by the back of the head and forced my head down, and I really didn't have a choice."

And here's the detectives response for why they didn't charge the officer with the crime of sexual abuse:

Detectives who investigated the case were considering first-degree sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse, both Measure 11 crimes, police reports show. Those charges require evidence of "forcible compulsion," said prosecutor Roger Hanlon. Based on the evidence, he said, "he didn't commit those crimes."

Forcible compulsion requires an expressed or implied physical threat, Hanlon said. Coercion occurred because of his implied threat to arrest the victim if she didn't perform the sex act, he said.

Um, forcing someone's head down and threatening to throw them in jail isn't an "expressed threat"? Bullshit.

Regardless of whether the women have sex with other men for money, physically forcing anyone to unwillingly perform a sex act is rape, y'all. It doesn't matter if you're a cop and she's a prostitute, if you wield power and she she doesn't. That's why we're supposed to have laws that are enforced equally, regardless of class.

The victim says it best, telling the O: "He didn't get charged with what he should have gotten charged with. I would have liked to have seen justice be done."

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