Police officers are supposed to enforce the law, to ensure that it is upheld, and to protect the safety and welfare of the public. That’s what, among other things, they’re paid taxpayer dollars to do. What they are most certainly not paid to do is rape individuals while on duty.
Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that Boynton Beach law enforcement officer Stephen Maiorino has been accused of and charged with raping a 20-year-old woman, at gunpoint, while on official police duty.
When police officers undermine the law in the manner described above, it raises questions about how fit they are to hold other people responsible for breaking the law. What seems so disturbing about this case is that not only is the officer accused of the heinous crime of rape, but he allegedly forcefully raped the woman and used his official status as leverage in committing the crime.
Perhaps Officer Maiorino let a brief stint in the limelight get to his head; in 2010, the now 35-year-old was featured on an episode of “Cops.” Maybe he thought that because he was depicted enforcing the law on national television he’d be entitled to break the law off screen. As our criminal defense lawyers know, that’s not how it should work, and, thanks to our justice system, that’s not how it does work.
The eight year veteran of the Boynton Beach police force turned himself in to authorities last week when he showed up at the Palm Beach County Jail. He’s now on administrative leave and, according to the police chief, he “will be fired.”
That the horrific incident happened at all is shocking, but the manner in which it transpired makes it even more despicable. Back on October 15th, the 20-year-old victim was left stranded after the person who had been driving the car she was in was arrested on a charge of DUI. Maiorino drove to where she’d been stranded and he was supposed to take her back to the police station where, she thought, she’d be picked up by relatives. According to the information that’s available in this case, that’s not what happened.
Once they arrived at the police station, the officer allegedly grabbed the young woman’s wrist and demanded oral sex from her, threatening that if she didn’t comply, she’d face a DUI charge herself. Scared of the DUI charge, and with full knowledge of the power granted to police officers, the woman complied. But that’s not all that happened; Maiorino then drove the woman a short distance away from the police station, where he forced her to strip down, held her face-down on the front hood of the marked police car, and sexually assaulted her, reportedly holding his gun in clear sight, a silent threat of violence.
Afterward, his threats became vocal. He allegedly proceeded to point his gun at the victim and tell her that if she told anybody about what happened, he would kill her and her family. Just about six hours later, the young woman, who had been abused so terribly by someone whose job it is to uphold the law, reported the incident to authorities.
As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, the allegations in this complaint aren’t purely supported by the opinions of the alleged victim; they’re supported by scientific, DNA evidence. After reporting the incident to authorities, the woman took investigators to the scene of the second sexual assault, where she was held down against the front of the officer’s police cruiser. There, investigators found a condom and a condom wrapper, both of which had the victim’s DNA on them. Her DNA was also found on the officer’s underwear.
Although the police chief has referred to Maiorino in recent days as a “rogue officer,” this disturbing crime committed by the police officer is evidence of a systemic problem — abuse of power. We put our trust (and money) into police departments all over the country, and rightfully expect that police officers will act appropriately. When they don’t, we are forced to question the entire law enforcement system.
If you feel as if you’ve been mistreated by a police officer, and/or if you have been arrested in Palm Beach, Broward and/or Miami-Dade County, please contact our criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert to schedule a free consultation by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363). We look forward to assisting you.