A crooked Kentucky cop just brought a rape victim to a hotel with her rapist

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A harrowing story of a police officer using the power of his position to entrap and rape a woman in Kentucky might see justice served for the victim, a rare occurrence in the American criminal justice system.

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The officer in question, John W. Nissen of the Hillview Police Department, was on duty and assigned to drive a rape victim home in September of 2017. Instead, he allegedly took the woman to a hotel and sexually assaulted her.

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Louisville-based WLKY reports that Nissen was indicted on charges of official misconduct, tampering with a witness, and theft by deception for his alleged misconduct.

An official statement released by Hillview Police Chief William Mahoney III explained that the indictment stems from the September 2017 incident in which Nissen was indirectly involved. Hillview officials “became concerned” about the allegations and passed the case onto the Kentucky State Police. Upon completion of their investigation, they turned in their findings to the commonwealth attorney for Bullitt County, Shelly Alvey.

Alvey’s conclusions formed the basis of the indictment. Alvey’s account of the incident delivered to WLKY goes into far greater detail than Mahoney’s statement. Apparently, the victim went to Hillview police to report a rape committed against her by a different Bullitt County officer.

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According to the report by the other officers on duty as recounted by Alvey, “[Nissen] agreed to take her home, and the allegation is that when he left the police department, he actually drove her to the home of the alleged perpetrator.”

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The use of the word “agreed” seems a soft choice here, considering that Alvey also told Pioneer News that Nissen was relaying her version of the first rape in a precinct interview room which Nissen allegedly entered uninvited. His presence effectively silenced the victim, at which point he “agreed” to provide her a ride.

After reuniting the rape victim with her rapist, Nissen and the nameless officer took the woman to Wal-Mart and bought her a phone, the motives for which were not immediately made clear in any of Alvey’s statements.

After presenting the woman with her “gift,” Nissen then allegedly took her to a Brooks Hotel, rented a room, and demanded she perform oral sex. Nissen also apparently told her to “move onto another jurisdiction,” according to Pioneer.

The prosecutor also pointed out evidence which indicates that the woman was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident. This seems like a good time to issue a reminder that drugs or alcohol use is no excuse to force sexual acts from anyone. Consent must be given and can be revoked at any time, for any reason. Not that this woman consented to being in the hotel room in the first place.

There is another lesson to be garnered from this, a lesson slowly but surely bubbling up from the recesses in which the patriarchy forced it: heroes can be flawed, and just because they’ve done something heroic does not preclude them from scrutiny on future actions (see: Eric Scheiderman).

In Nissen’s case, he was a temporary internet celebrity in July of 2015. The 20-year veteran of the police force was featured in People magazine after he consoled a woman driver who asked 911 for emotional support after she learned about the death of her sister while driving.

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At the time, Nissen told the pop-culture rag:

“Out of safety, I asked if I could talk with her and see if I could get her cooled down a bit. I turned the air vents toward her — it was over 90 degrees that day — held her hand, and she cried on my shoulder. I had her take sips of water.”

Her family eventually reached out to the department to thank the officer, and the Hillview PD even posted about the encounter it on their Facebook page:

Thankfully, Col. Mahoney agrees that a former hero could turn nefarious criminal. He admitted in his statement that Nissen’s police powers have been suspended pending the trial, asking the community for patience during the judicial process, and also promised that if these allegations turn out to be true, Nissen will be properly punished:

If the allegations against Detective Nissen are found to be true, you can be assured that we will handle the matter appropriately. The alleged behavior is most definitely not in line with the values of our agency.”

Though the #MeToo movement still has some cracks through which sexual predators can slip, it’s nice to see the visibility that the brave survivors have brought to the movement is finally sparking some change.

Follow Salvatore on Twitter and Instagram.

Salvatore Nicholas

Salvatore is a producer, political writer, comedian and LGBTQ activist (in no particular order). He resides in Los Angeles with his two cats and encyclopedic knowledge of Britney's discography.

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