Kill It With Fire: Ex-Cop Cleared Of Raping Woman On Hood Of Patrol Car

Yesterday, nearly one year after he was accused of raping a woman on the hood of police vehicle, a Florida jury cleared ex-cop Stephen Maiorino of all charges. His accuser, whose identity has been protected, cried out as the verdict was read and had to be escorted out of the courtroom, while Maiorino — who admits to having what he called “consensual” sex with the alleged victim — broke down in tears. His wife and mother to his two children, who has supported her husband throughout the trial, was also in attendance. Maiorino faced up to two life sentences if convicted on the charges of sexual battery, armed kidnapping, and unlawful compensation or reward by an armed police officer.

Outside of the courtroom, the alleged victim, now 21 (she was 20 at the time of the incident), could be heard crying, “Why?” Why indeed.

Nearly a year ago, on October 15, 2014, the woman was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by a friend who was pulled over and arrested for drunk driving. Maiorino was dispatched to pick her up and drive her to the police station. On the way there, she claimed Maiorino gave her an ultimatum: either she perform oral sex on him in the car, or he’d also arrest her for a DUI. Out of fear, she says she consented, and Maiorino drove a secluded field, where he ordered her to strip naked, and then proceeded to rape her on the hood of his police vehicle.

“I was just praying for it to stop,” she testified in court.

Afterwards, she claimed Maiorino threatened her with a shotgun, telling her that he would kill her and her family if she told anyone what had occurred. He then received an urgent phone call from the police station, saying that the woman’s family had arrived to pick her up and were wondering where she was; when they arrived at the station, Maiorino went back to his shift as if nothing had occurred.

The woman and mother, meanwhile, almost immediately went to the hospital to be examined, and a few weeks later, she filed a lawsuit against the police station. Maiorino was arrested and charged and has spent the last year in jail awaiting trial. His defense attorneys positioned the woman’s lawsuit against the police department as evidence that she was lying, and argued that Maiorino giving her his business card was evidence that the sex was consensual. He also didn’t make any effort to hide evidence that sex had occurred, like disposing of the condom or changing his clothes, which they said were not the actions of a guilty man.

Naturally, the defense also used the usual sickening slut-shaming strategies that are ALWAYS employed against accusers, arguing that a years old photo of the woman posing against a police car in a suggestive manner indicated that she had a fantasy about having sex on a cop car. BRB, I need to go punch a wall.

Everything about this case boggles my mind. This woman, from what I can tell, behaved like the “perfect” rape victim in the aftermath of this alleged assault, going to the hospital right away and swiftly taking legal action. She responded in a manner that many victims — for very valid reasons — don’t, which is then used against them as evidence that an assault did not occurred. She testified, facing her alleged assailant in court, which takes tremendous bravery. Her testimony was compelling, and the circumstances surrounding the incident, like the fact that it happened while Maiorino was ON DUTY, suggest the ex-cop had, at the very least, a flagrant disregard for professional police behavior. As has become routine, unless the assault occurred in full view of witnesses, most rape cases boil down to he said vs. she said, with the jury’s verdict dependent on who they believe. And given the hero worship directed at police officers in this country, accusers like this woman are already at a disadvantage. Most police officers who are accused of rape are acquitted, if they are even charged at all.

I’m horrified by the outcome of this trial and so deeply saddened for this woman, whose story I obviously believe. I hope she knows how brave she is and how many supporters she has across the country. And I hope her lawsuit against the police department, which is still pending and will be handled completely separately from the criminal proceedings, goes her way. As for Maiorino? I pray his job is not reinstated, that he never wears a badge again, and, you know, that he burns in hell for all eternity.

[NY Daily News]

[Palm Beach Post]

[Photo: Palm Beach Post]