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Drinking and Sexual Assault

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Drinking and Sexual Assault

upset woman.jpgEveryone knows that alcohol and other drugs can loosen people’s inhibitions, impair their judgment and lead to semi-consciousness and worse. Drugs cloud so many situations, and one of the worst parts about this for women is that they can be taken advantage of – sexually assaulted — when they’re not in control of their faculties.

Last spring a court case that appeared frequently in the New York area papers involved a 29-year-old woman charging a policeman with sexual assault. The gist of the case was that two police officers reported that they escorted an inebriated woman out of a taxi and up to her apartment. Afterward, the woman said that the officer named Kenneth Moreno raped her while the other stood guard. The men, who returned to the woman’s apartment additional times that night, told quite a different story. Like so much of court testimony, there was a ton of “He said, She said.” 

Here’s a portion of an article that  appeared on the Huffington Post:

“I couldn’t believe that two officers who had been called to help me had, instead, raped me,” said the woman, who has sued the city seeking $57 million over the incident.

After consulting prosecutors, she secretly recorded a conversation with Moreno a few days later. He alternately denied they had sex and seemed to admit it, particularly by saying twice that he’d used a condom when she asked him:

Woman: Did you use a condom?

Moreno: Ma’am —

Woman: I’m sorry but I’m completely freaked out —

Moreno: Ok.

Woman: — about getting pregnant or anything.

Moreno: Ok ma’am, you’re not going to get pregnant because nothing happ…yes Ma’am I used a condom. You don’t have to worry about being pregnant. You don’t have to worry about getting any diseases. Ok? Alright. Alright.

Moreno told jurors he was just “telling her what she wanted to hear” because she had suggested she’d go into the stationhouse where he worked and make a scene.

No DNA evidence was collected in the case, and experts debated whether an internal mark found during an examination of the woman could be interpreted as a sign of rape.

Moreno said he was only trying to console and counsel the woman about drinking during his series of visits, as he shared his own struggle with alcoholism some years before, killed a cockroach in her bathroom, made plans to have breakfast with her and sang to her a verse of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

On the last visit, Moreno said, he suddenly found himself fending off drunken advances from the woman.

“I told her, `There’s another time for this. Not tonight.’ … I kind of had her by the shoulders, and I said, ‘We’re not doing this,'” he told jurors.

But, he said, he wound up in her bed after she fell and got stuck between her bed and a wall and needed to be freed. He said he stayed there with his arms around her for a time, out of sympathy, but kept his uniform on and didn’t have sex with her.

In August Moreno’s partner received a two-month jail sentence for misconduct and Moreno was sentenced to a year. Both appealed. In October – the last news I found – Moreno was still out on appeal. 

In mid-December, Jane Brody, a health columnist for The New York Times, wrote that “fewer than 40 percent of rapes and sexual assaults are reported to the police.” And unfortunately, in some cases, a woman reporting being raped after drinking has one difficult road to hoe to get satisfaction.

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