Houston cop handcuffed and raped immigrant in police cruiser

Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
While on duty, a Texas police officer handcuffed a waitress and raped her repeatedly on the trunk of his police car, confident that the undocumented immigrant wouldn't report him.

Abraham Joseph, a 28-year old officer based in Houston, handcuffed the unidentified immigrant waitress in the parking lot of the cantina where she worked. He placed both her and another handcuffed man in the back of his car, but let the man out at a gas station before taking the woman to a secluded park.

While the victim was still handcuffed, Joseph raped her multiple times on the trunk of his police car on January 2, 2011.

“Still handcuffed, he’s in full uniform, badge, gun at the hip, never takes his uniform off. He rapes her,” said prosecutor Heyward Carter on Tuesday, the first day of Joseph’s trial.

With bruises all over her body, the waitress came home crying and was hospitalized later that night.

“I just never thought that a police officer would do that to a person,” said Israel Ramirez, a family member of the victim who testified in court with help from a translator.

The cop was fired from his job when the rape was reported and is now facing two counts of aggravated sexual assault against the woman.

The victim was an immigrant from El Salvador who spoke little English. The prosecution accused Joseph of targeting her because she would fear deportation for speaking up against a policeman.

“She didn’t have any legal documentation,” Ramirez said. “The fear was that they’d come and say, ‘Look, you’re lying,’ then arrest her and deport her.”

During Tuesday’s opening statements of the trial, the defense argued that Joseph engaged in consensual sex and committed no wrongs aside from getting distracted from his job.

The waitress is scheduled to testify on Wednesday. Joseph faces five years to life in prison.

But this isn’t the only case of its kind. Earlier this year, Milwaukee police officer Ladmarald Cates was charged for raping a 19-year old single mother after she called 911. When she accused the cop of his crime, she herself was arrested for assaulting a cop and jailed for four days. Even after her release and a DNA test, it took months before anyone prosecuted the police officer.

And in Alaska, Police Officer Anthony Rollins is facing 11 civil lawsuits filed by women who claim he raped them while on duty. Anchorage is paying more than $5.5 million to settle the lawsuits, while the officer is about to serve 87 years in prison.

Rape by a cop is not a rare incident, but often puts victims in a tough situation when it comes to reporting a police officer to a police officer.