A West Palm Beach man has been sentenced to two years in prison for impersonating a police officer and demanding that a stripper show him her breasts. The man was tried twice. The first attempt to convict him for impersonating a police officer in an unrelated incident resulted in a hung the jury. He was tried on a different charge and then convicted for impersonating a police officer and false imprisonment.
Central to the question of the defendant’s guilt or innocence was whether the man actually was impersonating a police officer when he attempted to force the woman to display her breasts. Unfortunately, he was not convicted on sexual misconduct charges.
The defendant had a history of sexual aggression toward women. He was accused of forcing a girl to perform oral sex on him when he was 15, and of stalking an ex-girlfriend after she had transferred to a different school to get away from him. The jury was not allowed to hear about those acts in the case against the defendant.
The defendant worked as a security guard and noticed the woman on her way home from work. He pulled her over and she told him that she was an exotic dancer on her way home from work. He asked her to “prove it” by displaying her breasts. The woman then called actual law enforcement, not believing that the defendant was a legitimate police officer. The victim told the jury that she believed that she would be “robbed and raped” if she hadn’t called police on the defendant.
Prosecutors also dropped a case against the defendant who had been accused of impersonating a police officer in an unrelated incident. A woman claimed that the defendant, posing as a police officer, offered her a ride and then attempted to force her into having oral sex with him.
While the defendant is only being convicted on charges related to his impersonation of an officer and false imprisonment, he also has a clear pattern of committing sexual violence against women, but on those charges, he was not convicted.
The Defense Argument
The defendant’s attorneys were successfully able to create enough doubt in the juror’s minds as to whether or not he actually did impersonate a police officer. In such an instance, the case will entirely hinge on the credibility of a key witness. When the jury believes the witness, the prosecution wins. So the defense attorney’s job is to make the witness look as unreliable as possible.
In the second trial, the young woman, who works as an erotic dancer, was able to convince the jury that the defendant had indeed impersonated a police officer. Who stops for a security guard? The defendant now faces the next two years in prison for, what is very likely, the least of his crimes. Hopefully, the man will receive the counseling he needs to control his appetite for sexual coercion. Because there was no evidence that any of the women accommodated his demands, he will not be put in a sex offender registry.
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