Officer accused again of rape

Policeman indicted in Jan. is charged in 2nd, separate case

May 06, 2006|By JULIE BYKOWICZ | JULIE BYKOWICZ,SUN REPORTER

A Baltimore police officer in the Southwestern District's troubled former "flex squad" who had earlier been charged with raping a woman surrendered to authorities yesterday after a city grand jury indicted him in a second rape.

Officer Jemini Jones, 28, was released on $75,000 bail.

He was indicted Thursday on charges of second-degree rape, second-degree sex offense and misconduct in office in an incident that prosecutors say occurred in October. Jones and two other officers were indicted in a separate case in January on charges of raping a woman in December inside the Southwestern station house.

In both cases, Jones is accused of forcing a woman to have sex or engage in sex acts to avoid arrest.

Warren A. Brown, Jones' attorney, called the latest indictment "malicious prosecution."

"The stench of the second case will ruin the credibility of the first case," Brown said. "Now maybe somebody will listen to the truth."

Thursday's indictment of Jones follows a nearly four-month investigation into an encounter that took place Oct. 24, according to court documents, which gave the following account:

Jones and two other officers were executing a search warrant on the East Baltimore apartment of a man they had been investigating for marijuana distribution. The man's 30-year-old girlfriend was home alone and wearing a bathrobe.

In a sworn statement that she gave in November at the office of her boyfriend's lawyer, the woman said one officer told her she "should give them what they want" after the officers found an unloaded handgun and suspected marijuana in the apartment.

Prosecutors said in a statement yesterday that "Jones informed her that she would have to engage in various sexual activities in order to avoid arrest."

According to the court documents, the woman said the officers asked if she planned to watch a football game that evening.

The woman said in her affidavit that the officers were referring to the "Baltimore Ravens Football game that was scheduled to come on television." However, the Ravens had played a day earlier against the Chicago Bears.

Two officers went to buy beer, leaving her alone with the third officer, the woman said. That officer instructed her to "dance for him," she said.

She complied, she said, because she was "alone, confused, virtually naked and feeling scared."

The other two officers returned, and the three stayed at the apartment for another 90 minutes to two hours, she said. She said that a fourth officer then arrived with documentation of the search warrant and that they all left, with the beer.

The woman gave another version in January, Brown said, in which she said she was raped while the two officers were out buying beer.

At a bail review hearing yesterday for Jones, Brown and Assistant State's Attorney JoAnne Stanton argued the merits of the case.

Brown called the woman untrustworthy and pointed out that she has been convicted in the past of making a false statement to an officer.

"There's no corroboration for what she says," Brown said. "It stinks."

Stanton defended her case and the victim, saying the woman "has not behaved differently" than other victims of sex crimes. "It's not rare to get bits and pieces as they come out," said Stanton.

The woman's first statement was given in the presence of her boyfriend, Stanton said, which might have been why she held back on discussing the rape.

Court documents show that in addition to Jones, the officers who came to the apartment that night were Steven P. Hatley and Mohammed Ali, also flex squad officers at the time. Another flex squad officer, Brian J. Shaffer, arrived later at the apartment and wrote the police report.

Hatley and Shaffer are charged with Jones in the December rape case, but only Jones is charged in the October case.

Brown criticized the state's attorney's office yesterday, saying it had rushed to indict in the first case without fully investigating. He also questioned the timing of an indictment in the second case just weeks before the trial for the December incident, and he said it appeared prosecutors were being influenced by the attorney representing both accusers.

Kenneth W. Ravenell has been hired by the women to "ensure that prosecutors are acting in their best interest," he has said. But Brown pointed out that Ravenell also has represented several men, including the boyfriend of the woman who says she was raped in October, whose drug charges were dropped when allegations of misconduct in the Southwestern flex squad came to light in January.

"Who is running the state's attorney's office?" Brown asked. "Ken Ravenell or Pat Jessamy?"

Brown also said he warned Jones that his case might become caught up in an ongoing dispute between city police and prosecutors who have argued for years about an effective crime-fighting strategy, arrests and the quality of cases.

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