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Sexual assault allegations put former policeman on trial

Sex crime allegations can impact individuals of any status, station or job. A jury in Fort Worth is hearing evidence in a sexual assault case against a former police officer. The 29-year law enforcement veteran stands accused of sexually assaulting a female victim in Dec. 2010.

In the criminal action, the officer, 51, is charged with one count of sexual assault to which he pleaded not guilty. A prison sentence of up to 20 years could be what the man faces if convicted.

The 34-year-old single mother alleges the officer touched her inappropriately while driving her home after processing her arrest warrant for more than $8,000 in unpaid traffic tickets to the city of Fort Worth. According to the allegations, when he drove her to the jail after her arrest, the officer stated he would help her, and he made the offer of a ride back home. It was on the drive back to Fort Worth that the alleged sexual assault occurred.

According to a police affidavit, the incident was not reported until the following April due to the woman's expectation that she wouldn't be believed. According to reports, she believed this because she is black and the officer is white. Defense attorneys claim that because the single mother is unemployed with two children, she filed a civil lawsuit against the accused in an effort to get out of debt. Reports are that she denies filing the complaint, but Tarrant County records indicate the lawsuit is active.

Other defense evidence in the cases includes cellphone records showing text messages between the officer and the woman for at least three days after the incident. The woman denies sending any texts to the officer.

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A jury should consider the facts that are presented in any case. Even with the perceived advantage of police officer status, defending against an accusation of criminal sexual conduct with strong, verifiable evidence that refutes the allegations allows the best possible outcome.

Source: Star-Telegram.com, "Former police officer on trial in sexual assault case" Mitch Mitchell, Oct. 29, 2013

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