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Stoughton, Uber driver, Celtics latest abuse disgust

The top three local news stories the other day involved men abusing women. One was about an Uber driver who allegedly raped a passenger. Another was about the Celtics head coach doing sexually offensive things to a female employee of the Celtics organization. The third was a whopper about three Stoughton police officers who sexually exploited and abused a vulnerable young woman for more than 10 years.

All three stories have one thing in common: men in power taking advantage of their authority to abuse women. Even more newsworthy than the men’s inhumanity is that not one politician said anything.

Big elections are just over a month away and no politician was outraged by these offenses against women. Not even Maura Healey spoke up, and she says she deserves the women’s vote because she cares about women’s issues. What women’s issue is more important than sexual violence and exploitation?

If the stories were about abuse of Asian people, Jews, Black men, etc., politicians would be fighting with each other for air time to declare themselves the most concerned. Healey, Michelle Wu, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, Andrea Campbell and anyone running for dog catcher would be calling press conferences and announcing their new plans to stop the violence. But when the stories are about men abusing women – we get crickets.

How many women have to suffer before some politician says something?

The Stoughton Police story alone should have had every public official speaking out. A 26-year-old woman with psychological problems was sexually exploited for more than 10 years by men who were supposed to protect her from, well, men like them — men who take sexual advantage of women with problems. It’s bad enough that any man would exploit an emotionally troubled woman; a cop doing it is a whole new level of depravity.

To those who think the #MeToo movement has helped, think again. Anyone can prop up a hashtag. Men sexually abuse and exploit women because they know our legal system will probably do nothing about it, especially in states like Massachusetts where the rapists’ lobby has a chokehold on Beacon Hill.

Other states send people to jail when they use their authority to take sexual advantage of others. Massachusetts should get with the program and make it a crime for cops, Uber drivers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, employers, etc., to have sexual contact with anyone subject to their authority, regardless of consent. Put another way, the law should make clear that there can never be valid consent in such cases.

Sexual harassment laws sometimes cover these abuse-of-power situations, but they only apply in employment and educational contexts. They don’t cover Uber drivers, cops, doctors, etc., and they’re not criminal laws, which means even when they do apply, the perpetrators cannot be sent to prison. They just write a check and the whole thing goes away.

What the Stoughton cops did to that poor woman should never go away — even though the so-called “independent investigation” attempts to close the book on the saga by saying no provable crime took place, while it rambles on about how the cops violated some code of honor thing.

Really?! The woman died after allegedly becoming pregnant by one of the cops. Reports call it suicide, but does it make sense that a woman with no history of suicidal ideation killed herself right after the cop who supposedly impregnated her paid her a visit that he said became very heated?

The investigative report blacks out most of the evidence, so we have no way of actually knowing what actually happened. While we wait around for an unredacted report we should assume there’s more to the story, and that the “more” is very bad for the cops.

Meanwhile, how about honoring the victim’s tragic life and untimely death by changing the law to make sure no cop ever again commits rape-by-badge.

Wendy Murphy is a lawyer and victims’ rights advocate.

STOUGHTON, MA - September 26: Stoughton Police Department on September 26, 2022 in Stoughton, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
STOUGHTON, MA – September 26: Stoughton Police Department on September 26, 2022 in Stoughton, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)


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