Two New York Police Department detectives accused of raping a handcuffed teenage girl inside a police van were indicted on first-degree rape charges. Eddie Martins and Richard Hall, who worked in Brooklyn as narcotics officers, face a maximum of 25 years in prison if found guilty, the New York Post reported Friday.
The charges stem from a September 15 incident when Martins and Hall arrested 18-year-old “Anna Chambers” (not her real name) for possession of marijuana and an anti-anxiety drug in Bath Beach, Brooklyn. The cops then drove her to a deserted parking lot in Coney Island, where Martins allegedly raped her and both officers forced her to perform oral sex. Chambers says the officers left her on a street corner near the 60th Precinct.
Chambers took herself to a hospital and was given a rape kit; the DNA found in the examination matched with that of Martins and Hall.
Attorneys representing the two officers claimed the sex was consensual. They also have previously tried smearing the victim’s credibility, arguing that Chambers’ “provocative” selfies and jokes about the money that will soon be in her bank account isn’t behavior consistent with being raped. “This behavior is unprecedented for a depressed victim of a vicious rape,” the attorneys said in a letter to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. Such an assumption disregards the fact that people react to trauma in remarkably different ways and routinely curate their social media presence, as ThinkProgress’ Adrienne Varkiani points out.
“She’s devastated, she doesn’t leave home, she’s extremely depressed, and has been victimized again by these cops saying it was consensual,” Chambers’ attorney Michael David told the Intercept. “This was a kidnapping, and this was rape.”
In response to the incident, city officials have started to debate closing the extremely lopsided loophole that means it’s not actually illegal for police officers to have sex with someone in their custody. Under New York penal law there are no circumstances in which sex can be consensual between corrections officers and prisoners or patients and those supervising them. The NYPD says it is “against department policy” for an officer to have sex with someone they just arrested, but there are no legal ramifications for such action.
Councilman Mark Treyger, whose district covers the site of the alleged rape, said that the loophole needs to be closed.
“It is completely unacceptable in the sense that is so hard for victims of sexual assault to come forward with these cases. And this smear campaign against her is sending a chilling effect — not just to her, but all victims of rape and sexual assault, that if you come forward, someone will try to smear your character,” Treyger told ThinkProgress. “We need to send a very clear message that we support victims of rape and sexual assault every step of the way.”