SAPD Officer Accused of Rape While On Duty Highlights Troubling Dept. Trend

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SAPD Officer Jackie Len Neal was arrested and charged with felony sexual assault on Saturday morning for allegedly raping a 19-year-old woman who he had pulled over on Friday night.

The 40-year-old officer told the woman that her car had been reported stolen and then proceeded to pat down, grope and rape her after handcuffing her and placing her in the back seat of his cruiser. He then allegedly told her "not to tell anyone." He has since been released on a $20,000 bond.

What's even more fucked up is that this is the THIRD accusation of sexual misconduct against Officer Neal. Police Chief William McManus told the E-N that a different woman made a similar complaint against Neal a few years ago but that after she "refused to cooperate in a police investigation," the case was dropped without consequence. The second incident took place this past September, when Neal was suspended for three days when it  came to light that he had been dating an 18-year-old member of the Police Explorer program, a program meant for young people interested in careers in law enforcement.

Some reported details indicate that Neal knew how to avoid detection. Slate notes that while Neal's patrol unit had the standard on-board cameras, set to record video both in and outside of the vehicle, the hard drive was mysteriously missing, something that SAPD says Neal would have been "fully aware of" at the time of the alleged crime. Additionally, the GPS in his car showed that he stopped at the scene of the crime for "about 18 minutes."

As we have reported in the past, SAPD has a nasty history of acting like a boys club, an issue which often has resulted in rampant sexual misconduct.

While one has to wonder at the kind of climate breeds and allows this behavior—after his second offense, the dodgy Neal was transferred to the night shift (really?)—we're glad to see SAPD finally documenting and reacting to accusations against this guy. It's a shame that rape seems to be the line, though; had his lesser crimes been handled more seriously by SAPD top brass, this incident may never have occurred.

Said Police Chief McManus, "There is no such thing a consensual sex on duty. I feel silly even saying that we won't tolerate it. Of course we won't tolerate it. There is no gray area. This is a criminal offense." He also thanked the victim for "having the courage to come forward and having the confidence in the SAPD to handle the case effectively." Well, that's a start, I guess.

Check back later this week as staff writer Mary Tuma follows up on our previous reporting, to see if related issues raised by the community more than three years ago have resulted in any serious attempts to flag, track and appropriately punish sexual misconduct within SAPD's ranks.

 

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