Consent Not A Defense: Former Prosecutor Weighs In On Police Sexual Misconduct Cases

By Jeff Neumeyer

September 18, 2013 Updated Sep 18, 2013 at 5:47 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21 Alive) ---Defining the boundaries for abuse of police power.

A former prosecutor says a cop caught having sex while on duty is outside the lines, regardless of who was the instigator.

It’s a timely subject, since a Fort Wayne police officer is in trouble with the law right now, for an alleged sexual encounter with a woman in his custody.

19-year veteran officer Mark Rogers is at risk of losing his job and his freedom, and it wouldn't matter if he felt the woman was a willing partner.

On Monday, Rogers was tagged with three counts, including felony charges of sexual misconduct and official misconduct.

Court papers say on September 1st, Rogers took a woman to the hospital for a blood test to determine if she'd been driving drunk.

That woman later claimed that Rogers drove her to a park instead of jail, removed her handcuffs, then walked her to a bench and had sex with her.

She told investigators she fully cooperated, fearing for her safety if she didn't.

Former Adams County Prosecutor Dan Sigler says the law holds cops to a higher standard of conduct, the same way it makes sure teachers don't have sex with students.

" Consent is not a defense, because the theory is that you are not old enough to be able to consent yet, and to have the judgment to consider the downside of consenting. That parallel goes over to prisoners, or people who are in custody," Sigler said.

The alleged victim in the Rogers case says she didn’t resist, fearing for her safety because she knew Rogers was a police officer.

Sigler says by virtue of the power an officer has over civilians placed under their control, it’s not really possible for the person in custody to provide consent.

On Monday, the Fort Wayne Board of Public Safety placed Rogers on unpaid leave.

He will remain on that status until his criminal case gets resolved in the Allen County court system.

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