Officer ‘sent naked selfie to woman who reported sex assault’ and said he’d sexually assault her

Sussex Police officer ‘sent naked selfie to a woman who reported sex assault and told her he wanted to use his handcuffs on her and would have sexually assaulted her himself’

  • The victim, known as Female A, alleged the incident happened in March 2014
  • The sergeant, known as PS X, allegedly sent the victim a naked selfie and flirted
  • He reportedly said he’d have sexually assaulted her himself and she aroused him
  • The Sussex Police officer was granted anonymity which Rape Crisis condemned

A police officer sent a naked selfie to a woman after she complained she had been sexually assaulted in a pub, a hearing was told.

The sergeant told the woman he wanted to take her home and use his police handcuffs on her and confessed he was so aroused by her he would have sexually assaulted her himself.

He made the alleged comments after she approached the officer and told him she had been sexually assaulted in a bar and wanted to make an official complaint.

The shocking revelations were made at a disciplinary hearing today where the serving police officer faces allegations his behaviour amounted to gross misconduct.

If they are proven then the officer from Sussex Police could be drummed out of the force.

But controversially the officer has been granted anonymity to keep his identity a secret.

The move has sparked fury from rape charities who say granting the officer anonymity amounts to misogyny and erodes trust and confidence in the police.

Jayne Butler of Rape Crisis said: ‘Granting anonymity to officers accused of misconduct does nothing to build up public trust.

‘It speaks to a culture of misogyny, where the reputation of a police officer trumps the safety of women and girls.’

Sussex Police Headquarters in Lewes, pictured above, is home to Sussex Police where the  accused sergeant has been granted anonymity

Sussex Police Headquarters in Lewes, pictured above, is home to Sussex Police where the  accused sergeant has been granted anonymity

The hearing was told the alleged incident happened in March 2014 when the woman and her two sisters were enjoying a night out in Hastings, East Sussex.

They were drinking in Yates wine bar when Female A was groped by a man who put his hand up her skirt.

Cecily White, for Sussex Police, said the man put his hand up her skirt and groped her bottom and and vagina over her clothing.

She said: ‘Out of the blue she was touched. She was shocked and disgusted by it. It was completely unwanted and uninvited.’

The man was evicted from the pub and the victim went outside to report the attack to police.

The sergeant, who was on patrol in the town centre, sat the victim in the front of his car to take a witness statement.

But as he took her statement he allegedly began making ‘sexually suggestive’ and ‘flirtatious’ remarks to her and told her he liked her short dress.

He said: ‘You’re turning me on. You’re arousing me’ and said he would have put his hands up her skirt himself.

The disciplinary hearing was told he then told her he wanted to take her home and tie her up.

Ms White said: ‘He said he wanted to take her home and use his handcuffs on her and tie her up. He said something on the lines of ‘Fair play to the guy for grabbing her bottom’ as if he understood why he had done it saying: ‘I would have done the same myself.’

The sergeant – known as PS X – took her mobile phone number and later sent her a full-length naked selfie.

Ms White said: ‘Later she got a text from a number she did not recognise. She asked who it was and he replied with his name.

‘He then sent a naked photo of himself. She said it was a full length picture of himself taken in the mirror and he had an erection in the photo.’

She showed it to her sister and deleted it along with the ‘flirtatious’ messages he had sent.

Months later she bumped into the officer again in court when the sex offender went on trial and was convicted for the sexual assault against her.

The officer asked her why she had not replied to his messages and again became ‘flirtatious and suggestive.’

The woman batted off his advances and did not rise or reply to his flirtatious comments.

The hearing was told the victim did not make a formal complaint because she was scared and had deleted evidence from her phone, including the naked selfie and the flirtatious comments.

She only reported the incident in 2020 after the officer’s name cropped up in an unconnected matter.

Today Jayne Butler, CEO of Rape Crisis, said: ‘We’re deeply concerned to hear that a serving police officer has been granted anonymity whilst facing disciplinary action.

‘We know that the vast majority of those who experience sexual violence do not report what happened to them for fear of being disbelieved, judged or blamed for their assault. It is unacceptable that any survivor should also fear having unwanted sexual advances made towards them.

‘Victims and survivors of sexual assault deserve to know if they report to the police they will be treated with respect and empathy. Whilst there is a lot of work happening at a national level to improve accountability across police forces, cases like this undermine those efforts.

‘At a time when prosecution rates for rape are at an all-time low, we’d expect police forces to be doing everything they can to build up public confidence in the system. That means more accountability and transparency across forces, and a zero tolerance approach to officers that abuse their position of power.’

The anonymity order means members of the public could come into contact with the officer without knowing of the allegations against him.

Sussex Police has been accused of presiding over a culture of secrecy after dozens of officers were dismissed after being granted anonymity or their disciplinary hearings held in private.

The decision on whether to grant anonymity at a disciplinary hearings is made by the Legally Qualified Chair (LQC).

The LQC decides whether a dismissal will be ‘heard in private’ and is appointed by the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

This may be done where the naming of an officer ‘could risk the identification of a vulnerable victim or complainant’.

However, it can also be requested by the officers themselves.

Sussex Police has been plagued by a sex pest scandal after a series of probes into officers’ behaviour.

Hastings police station was branded the ‘the most sexist station in Britain’ after a wave of pervert PCs were accused of being sex pests.

As well as conducting affairs with each other while on duty and viewing and exchanging pornographic pictures, Sussex officers also moonlighted as prostitutes, arranged to have sex with prostitutes and sent pornographic selfies to members of the public.

Some officers have been sacked from the force while others have been handed final written warnings

Sources say a major crackdown on ‘lad culture’ at the Hastings station was launched after complaints by several female officers and members of the public.

Whatsapp and Facebook groups used to exchange explicit sexual messages and images have been shut down, rowdy behaviour has been banned and officers have been read the Riot Act.

A spokesperson for Sussex Police said: ‘Only the most serious cases are considered for a misconduct hearing and every hearing has an appointed Legally Qualified Chair (LQC) who is independent of Sussex Police.

‘It is the responsibility of the LQC alone to determine whether or not a hearing is partially or wholly held in public or in private and whether any participant should be anonymised. Sussex Police are directed by and must abide by rulings made by the panel chair. Any officer attending a hearing has the right to make representations for it to be held in private.’

The hearing continues

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