19-year old sex worker steals police officer’s badge to prove sexual assault. As we know, the risks of reporting sexual assault to police are much greater for sex workers who often are then targets for arrest themselves because of the nature of their work. One can only imagine the absolute power this cop must have thought he had over this young woman – he was wrong!
“this guy has been making me give him [oral sex] whenever he sees me, and I just got sick of it. . . . When his pants were down around his ankles, I just took his badge.”
A 19-year-old prostitute feared that no one would believe her if she said an off-duty Boston police officer kept forcing her to perform sex in his car. So one night, she fled his car with a key piece of evidence: his badge.
It was a bold move, the woman’s lawyer said yesterday. And later, the lawyer said, when Officer Michael LoPriore called the woman to get his badge back, the FBI was listening, too.
LoPriore, 37, of Everett, was charged in federal court yesterday with depriving the woman of her rights by using his position as a police officer to coerce her to perform sex in September 2004.
According to a plea agreement filed with the court by the US attorney’s public corruption unit, LoPriore, a 12-year Boston police veteran, will plead guilty, resign from the department, and never seek another job as a police officer in Massachusetts.
Prosecutors will recommend that he serve a year in prison, but LoPriore’s lawyer may seek probation. A plea date has not yet been set.
His lawyer, Thomas Drechsler, declined to comment on the case yesterday, saying only, “I hope the matter will be resolved shortly.”
Boston lawyer John Swomley, who represents the woman, said she came to his office in the fall of 2004. She is not identified in court documents.
“She plopped down a badge in a black leather case and said, “Oh, my God, what do I do?” Swomley said.
He said she told him that “this guy has been making me give him [oral sex] whenever he sees me, and I just got sick of it. . . . When his pants were down around his ankles, I just took his badge.”
The woman said LoPriore, who was assigned to East Boston, stopped her in Boston’s Combat Zone while he was off duty. He was driving in his personal car with a child’s car seat strapped in the back.
He flashed his badge, ordered her into the car, and drove her to various locations, where he forced her to perform oral sex, Swomley said.
His client was very troubled, too, that the officer refused to wear a condom, the lawyer said.
Swomley said he gave the black leather case containing LoPriore’s badge, police identification photo, license to carry a firearm, and Social Security card to the FBI. Later, he said, agents secretly recorded the telephone call between his client and LoPriore.
Albert Goslin, the Police Department’s acting commissioner, said that the FBI notified the department about the allegations in October 2004 and that LoPriore was placed on restricted duty, performing clerical work inside a station without a firearm.
While the FBI investigation was underway, LoPriore was charged with felony larceny in state court for allegedly forging signatures on timecards and collecting $1,102 pay for detail shifts he never worked at an East Boston construction site in 2004. That case, brought by Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, is pending.
“Obviously it is important to us that I get someone of this ilk removed from the Police Department,” said Goslin, adding that Boston police worked with federal authorities to craft language in the plea agreement that says LoPriore will waive all rights to reinstatement, appeal, or lost pay associated with his resignation.
He said the department, which worked with the FBI during the probe, was restricted by law from suspending LoPriore while the investigation into the sexual allegations was ongoing.
LoPriore, whose resignation becomes effective today, has had a history of complaints involving women.
While on duty in March 2002 , LoPriore transported an intoxicated woman in his cruiser without notifying operations or a supervisor, according to Boston Police Department records.
And in August 2002, LoPriore and another officer were outside their assigned patrol area when they saw a disturbance involving an intoxicated woman outside a club. The officers took the woman into their cruiser, drove her to Charlestown, and left her there, according to police records.
Under an agreement that settled both complaints, LoPriore served 20 days of a 60-day suspension.
In a statement announcing yesterday’s charges against LoPriore, US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan called the officer’s conduct “reprehensible.”
“While only a minuscule percentage of law enforcement officers abuse their power,” Sullivan said, “such incidents unfairly taint the reputation of law enforcement professionals everywhere.”
Suzanne Smalley of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
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