Three officers given separate rape trials

Woman says she was attacked in station

January 10, 2007|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,Sun reporter

Three city police officers charged in a rape case will have separate trials, a Baltimore Circuit Court judge ruled yesterday.

Officer Jemini Jones is accused of having sex in December 2005 inside the Southwestern District station house with a woman who had been taken there in handcuffs. Two other officers, Brian Jones and Steven Hatley, are accused of doing nothing to intervene.

Circuit Judge Wanda K. Heard agreed with a defense motion that the officers' right to a fair trial would be "irreparably harmed" if a single jury decided their fates - the scenario prosecutors had sought.

Jones' trial is scheduled to begin today with jury selection. The two other trials are to come immediately after his.

According to charging documents, a 22-year-old woman said she and a friend were stopped by the trio of officers Dec. 27, 2005, and taken to the station house. Jones allegedly told her she could avoid criminal charges if she had sex with him.

Jones also is accused in a second rape case, in which he allegedly threatened to arrest a woman Oct. 24, 2005, at her East Baltimore apartment unless she had sex with him.

The Sun does not name alleged victims of sex crimes.

Jones, Shaffer and Hatley were part of an aggressive group of officers called a "flex squad" that patrolled Southwest Baltimore, usually in plainclothes and unmarked cars.

They have been suspended without pay since their indictments a year ago.

As officers investigated the initial sex accusation, they alleged in court documents that some members of the squad had stolen cell phones and planted drugs on people. No criminal charges have arisen out of those claims, and the Police Department says it is still investigating.

julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com

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