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NYPD “Rape Cop” Juror Is Cashing In

For the past year, the country has been following the sordid tale of the two NYPD “rape cops” who were accused of sexually assaulting a drunk woman whom they were called to remove from a taxi cab and take into her apartment. After a night of partying, the 27-year-old Gap employee was put into a cab by friends. She vomited on herself and was disoriented, so a cab driver called police to come to her aid. The cops who arrived on the scene helped her inside her place, but returned to her apartment several times over the course of the night to “check up on her.” Ex-officer Kenneth Moreno claimed he cuddled the blackout-drunk woman in her bed while she wore only a bra, although the woman herself claims he raped her and can recall her panties being removed. Moreno’s partner, Franklin Mata, allegedly hung out elsewhere in the woman’s apartment while Moreno was alone with her in the bedroom. The pair were also accused of faking 911 calls that would allow them to stay in the area near the woman’s apartment.

Shocking those of us who followed the case, Moreno was found not guilty of sexual assault. Jurors did not trust the victim’s memory because she had been blackout drunk; they also said they could not convict him due to a lack of DNA evidence. (Moreno had admitted on tape, when he was approached by the victim at his police station, that he had used a condom.) The surely-despondent victim released a sad statement after the verdict to say she was “devastated and disappointed by the jury’s decision.”

So it is in this environment that one of the jurors in the case, Patrick Kirkland, decided to cash in, publishing an article on the blog Gothamist called “Confessions of a ‘Rape Cop’ Juror,” for which he charged $1.99 on Kindle and $2.99 on PDF. I understand jurors on high-profile trials frequently speak to the media and I suspect some of them are financially re-numerated for doing so. Another juror on the NYPD “rape cops” case, Melinda Hernandez, also spoke to the media after the verdict about how she identifies as feminist and had a difficult time declaring Moreno “not guilty.” (I do not know if she was financially compensated by Womens eNews, but I suspect not, as it was an “interview.”) My issue is not with with jurors speaking to the media at all.

No, what seems crass and tasteless about this is that juror Patrick Kirkland and Gothamist are basically charging $3 a pop for the inside story on the trial. It goes beyond tabloid journalism and strikes me as personally profiting off someone else’s misfortune. I know as well as anyone (trust me) that the media is not a money-making business; you’ve got to make a buck when you can. But Gothamist and Kirkland are making a buck off this woman’s rape accusation. I could maybe imagine charging Frisky readers, for instance, for “special content” as a concept, but this particular “special content” is only special because it involves a woman who claims to have been sexually assaulted by a New York City police officer. As someone who also makes her living as a blogger, it would be unconscionable to charge our readers to pay for the inside scoop from a juror on a high-profile rape case.

I won’t be paying $1.99 for the Kindle version or $2.99 for the PDF version of Kirkland’s experiences on the “rape cops” jury, despite my considerable interest in the case. It’s not because I don’t want to “support journalism and our efforts to class this place up a little with your $2 to $3,” as the commenter Gothamist Tips suggested on the comment thread of the post advertising the links. It’s because it’s debatable that one juror’s personal account counts as “journalism” — but mostly, it’s because I vehemently deny what they’re doing is the slightest bit classy.

[Gothamist]
[Womens eNews: NYC Juror Questions Handling Of Rape Evidence]

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