Details of alleged rape told in court

Female officer seeks to extend restraining order

By Maria Cramer
Globe Staff / October 2, 2009

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The day began with a shooting competition in Connecticut. By afternoon, the Boston police officers were drinking beer and margaritas in a nearby parking lot. By the end of the night, they had stopped at two bars, where they downed tequila shots and more beer.

Soon afterward, the three officers, two men and a young woman only a couple of years out of the academy, went back to a hotel near Farmington, where they all agreed to share a room. As the woman collapsed into bed, she said she felt someone crawl in next to her. It was one of the two other officers. As she tried to resist, she said, he grabbed her by the neck, threatened to ruin her life, and told her to be quiet.

“He grabbed my throat and squeezed really hard,’’ she said. “I remember thinking I couldn’t breathe.’’

He raped her twice on that late August night, she said, while the other officer lay passed out on the hotel room floor.

Yesterday, the woman stood in a Dorchester District courtroom, just 10 feet away from the man she has accused of raping her, leaving her pregnant, and threatening her husband’s life. She was there to urge Judge David Weingarten to extend a restraining order issued against the officer Monday. The Globe is withholding her name because the newspaper does not identify people who allegedly were sexually assaulted. The accused officer is not being identified because he has not been charged with a crime.

Her lawyer, John Swomley, said he plans to pursue criminal charges against the officer but is first focusing on obtaining a long-term restraining order.

“She is mostly interested in her personal safety right now,’’ he said. “We’ll take this one step at a time.’’

The accused officer’s lawyer - Thomas Drechsler, who often represents patrol officers - said his client did nothing wrong.

“He has, will, and continues to deny the allegations,’’ Drechsler said after yesterday’s hearing. His client, dressed in a gray, pinstriped suit, declined to comment.

During the hearing, the woman’s husband and several uniformed Boston police officers looked on as she gave horrific details about the alleged attacks. After raping her on Aug. 25, she said, the officer demanded sex from her again the next day. Intimidated, she said, she agreed to have sex with him three more times in the next month.

When Swomley asked her why she is afraid of the officer, she replied, “He has no qualms about killing people.’’

The accusations have launched an internal affairs investigation and rattled department officials, who have ordered both officers to surrender their service weapons and any personal guns. Both officers have been told not to report to duty.

“The Boston Police Department is conducting a thorough investigation into this matter,’’ said Elaine Driscoll, spokeswoman for the Boston Police Department. “It is complex, and in an effort to protect the integrity of the case, we’re going to refrain from discussing it publicly. . . . The department will make a public comment when there is conclusive information.’’

Several officers from the department’s Special Operations Unit, of which the accused officer is a member, sat in the courtroom. The alleged victim was recently transferred to the elite unit from a district station. She had requested the transfer before the alleged assault took place, Swomley said.

Deputy Superintendent Thomas Lee, the unit’s commander, was among the officers present. He and the others were subpoenaed as witnesses, Driscoll said.

But there was no time for them to testify yesterday. Most of the 90-minute hearing focused on the victim’s version of events.

In a soft voice, the petite woman told Weingarten that the patrolman, a sniper in the SWAT team, told her he could shoot her husband from 500 yards away and never get caught.

Last week, she learned she was pregnant, she said, and told her husband what happened. She first told him she had been unfaithful, she said, but then said the pregnancy was the result of rape.

On Thursday, she said she was approached by department officials who asked her about the alleged assaults.

“They came to her,’’ Swomley said, after the hearing. “She did not go to them.’’

A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation said it was her husband who came forward.

Later that day, police collected her department-issued gun and personal firearms. One of those personal weapons accidentally went off as she handed it to police, but no one was injured, according to two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the event.

Swomley said it was wrong to force her to turn over her private guns because she is the alleged victim. Driscoll said the department’s order was made to keep both officers safe.

The female officer filed an emergency restraining order Friday. On Monday, when she wanted to extend it, Swomley said a sergeant detective in the department’s domestic violence unit convinced her not to, telling her she would not be able to get one.

That supervisor then told the accused officer’s lawyer, Thomas Drechsler, that the woman would not be filing a restraining order, Swomley said. Swomley said she changed her mind later that day.

Drechsler said his client had nothing to do with the sergeant detective’s purported actions.

“Sergeant detectives don’t usually do what patrol officers tell them to do,’’ he said.

During a brief cross-examination, Drechsler pointed out that the accusing officer waited a month before telling anyone she was raped and told her husband of the allegations only after learning she was pregnant.

“You knew that the child couldn’t be his,’’ Drechsler said as the female officer replied yes. “You knew that you had to explain that somehow.’’

The restraining order was extended to Monday, when the hearing will be continued.

Maria Cramer can be reached at