A Portland Police Bureau cop was fired last year after accusations that they raped a person who was too drunk to consent to sex in 2015.
Records show that the internal PPB discipline board unanimously voted to clear the accused cop of wrongdoing for the off-duty rape allegation—there were "conflicting witnesses statements," it says—while also suspending the cop for one week based on the same encounter for having "sexual contact" with a person after the person had been drinking at a party the cop hosted. Specifically, the Police Review Board said the cop wasn't in violation of PPB rules requiring professional conduct for the rape allegation (implying what happened wasn't rape), but did act unprofessionally by having sex with a person who was drinking when they didn't "ask additional questions before engaging in sexual contact."
Then-Chief Mike Marshman overruled the PRB on the rape allegation and fired the cop, records show. He agreed with the board it was unprofessional to have sex with a person who was drinking. The cop, the report says, regularly responded to "domestic violence and date rape calls while on duty," and should have known better, records say.
The revelations are a part of a twice-yearly summary of investigations ruled on by the PRB, the internal PPB discipline board. The maddeningly vague reports do not reveal cops' names, ranks, genders, or any other information about who an accused cop could be. In this specific case, we also don't know in which jurisdiction the alleged rape happened, the status of any criminal investigation into the rape, or the gender of the person who reported the rape.
PPB spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley
refused to elaborate on the details of the case (EDIT: Burley's original response to my request for details on the case was: "Please submit a public records request for this information." I interpreted that at the time as not declining to elaborate because public records requests take long time to process, are expensive, and are often fruitless because public records laws in Oregon are garbage. After publication, Burley responded: "I think your article mischaracterizes my response to you when you say I 'refused.' I provided you the appropriate channel to get information about your request. I do not have the name of the officer and providing the names of people and specific circumstances involved in personnel matters, internally and externally, must be vetted to ensure we comply with Bureau of Human Resource rules." I apologize for the miscommunication.) The Mercury has filed a public records request for documents from the case.
In the PRB report, the cop is known as "Employee #1" and the person alleging rape is known as "complainant." The summary of the complaint (emphasis mine):
Complainant alleged Employee #1, while off duty, had oral sex and intercourse with complainant while complainant was unable to consent during a party at a party at Employee #1's home. Complainant went to the hospital to have a sexual assault examination the following day and reported the incident to the local jurisdiction. Detectives from the local jurisdiction conducted an investigation.
Again, we don't know what jurisdiction this happened in—it's implied that it's not in Portland—or the status of any criminal case. We just know that a person promptly went to a hospital to get a sexual assault examination and reported to the local authorities what happened.
The PRB ruled there wasn't enough evidence to prove the first allegation—"While off-duty, Employee #1 had oral sex and sexual intercourse while complainant was unable to consent due to complainant's level of intoxication." The PRB's reasoning:
The PRB unanimously recommended a finding of not sustained based on the preponderance of the evidence from the record. The record highlighted conflicting results.
But the reasoning for why four of five PRB members voted to suspend him for a week for the second allegation—that the cop "acted unprofessionally and in a manner tending to bring reproach or discredit to the Police Bureau and the City by having sexual contact with complainant after complainant had consumed alcohol"—implies they knew the encounter wasn't consensual. It also implies that some of the discipline was because the allegation can become public "and result in reproach toward the city."
Here's the summary of the majority opinion on the second allegation (emphasis mine):
Four members of the Board recommend a finding of sustained saying Employee #1's decision-making was poor, as evidenced by Employee #1's own statements. They said any officer, including Employee #1, who has responded to domestic violence and date rape calls while on duty should have acted prudently and asked additional questions before engaging in any sexual contact. Members also said there was a nexus with the Bureau because issues of sexual assault can easily move from the private to public realm and result in reproach toward the City. Two members agreed that the issues of honesty and integrity apply regardless of whether they are on or off duty and it affects decision-making. The two members said Employee #1's behavior did not meet the standard of reasonable rules of good conduct and Employee #1 did not seem to recognize this during the internal affairs investigation.
One PRB member voted to not punish the cop for the second allegation as well because, they said, the "investigation left many questions unanswered" and it's "unknown what exactly happened." It's unclear what investigation the person was referring to: the criminal investigation by the local law enforcement, or the internal affairs investigation. The PRB member also said both the accused rapist and the alleged rape victim "have credibility issues."
To summarize: The PRB unanimously said there wasn't enough evidence that the cop had non-consensual sex, but, in the same encounter, four out of five of them said there was enough evidence to prove the cop had sex with a person who was drinking and didn't ask enough questions ahead of time.
They voted to suspend him for a week, "due to aggravating factors, including previous policy violations resulting from poor decision-making on duty and poor decision-making in this off-duty case which could have resulted in harm."
Then-Chief Marshman, "disagreed with the PRB's recommended finding for Allegation 1 and found the allegation sustained," the PRB summary says, meaning he believes the evidence more likely than not pointed to sexual assault. He fired the cop, it says.
Here's the extremely vague PRB summary for this specific incident. Think you know who the cop is? Send an off-the-record email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(H/T to Portland Copwatch for pointing out that this batch of reports were out)