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Press release: No Justice for Victims of Police Sexual Violence

03 Jun

For Immediate Release

No Justice for Victims of Police Sexual Violence

Tiawanda Moore court date set for June 8, activists demand justice

The Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls & Young Women is calling on State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to drop the criminal charges against Tiawanda Moore. Ms. Moore is a young woman who reported that she had been sexually assaulted by a police officer in July of 2010, and was then herself charged with eavesdropping on police.  According to her attorney, Robert Johnson, when she tried to report the assault, internal affairs “gave her the run-around, trying to intimidate and discourage her from making a report. The internal affairs officers told Ms. Moore if it happens again you have our number. Finally, a recording of the officer’s misconduct is made on her cell phone.”  She was charged with two counts of eavesdropping – and if found guilty, will face up to fifteen years in prison.

Ms. Moore has been awaiting trial since her initial scheduled trial date of February 7. The next court date is scheduled for June 8 on which Judge Kevin M. Sheehan will decided what documents from the Independent Police Review Authority’s investigation will be released to the parties.

Describing the injustice facing his client, Mr. Johnson stated, “Ms. Moore reports an attack by a police officer in her bedroom and almost a year later she is facing prison and he is still patrolling our streets. Listening to that recording makes me wonder where future victims will get the courage to report sexual misconduct by a police officer.”

Ms. Moore’s case comes in the wake of local and national headlines, as a series of women have reported that they were sexually assaulted by police officers.  In New York, on May 26, the acquittal of two police officers for alleged rape of a woman drew protests from local organizations, who pointed to the victim-blaming inherent in the defense’s winning argument that the woman had been drinking.  Here in Chicago, officers Paul Clavijo and Juan Vasquez were indicted on June 1 for sexual assault, for an alleged rape of a 22-year old woman in Rogers Park in March.  According to reports, Clavijo was charged with a second count of criminal sexual assault and official misconduct for an unrelated incident involving a 26-year old woman, which also took place in March.

Local activists have urged the State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to drop the criminal charges and expedite the investigation into Ms. Moore’s allegations against the police.  The Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls & Young Women, a citywide coalition founded in 2009, launched an online petition on http://www.change.org that has drawn over 2,100 signatures.  The State’s Attorney has not responded to these demands.

According to Taskforce co-founder Melissa Spatz, “cases like this have a chilling effect on women’s willingness to come forward and report if they have been sexually assaulted by police officers.  It’s crucial that the city send a clear message that sexual assault of young women will not be tolerated.”   Co-founder Mariame Kaba adds, “We at the Taskforce recognize the deep injustice of this case, and we demand immediate accountability from the State’s Attorney.”

Contacts: Melissa Spatz (773)454-0366 chitaskforce@gmail.com

Mariame Kaba (773)392-5165

Robert Johnson (773)485-2267

 

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