National criminal justice experts weigh in on police sexual misconduct

In just three years, three Lane County Sheriff's deputies have been accused of sexual misconduct.

Posted: Feb 16, 2021 7:24 PM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- National criminal justice experts, both former police officers, Norm Stamper and Dr. Phil Stinson are sharing their thoughts on police sexual misconduct.

This comes as a now-former Lane County Sheriff's deputy Stacy Fenley has been accused of sexual misconduct. The sheriff's office received a complaint in October 2020 that Fenley was exchanging sexual texts with a community member while on duty.

It's just one of three instances of a Lane County deputy being accused of sexual misconduct in the past three years.

RELATED: FORMER LANE COUNTY DEPUTY ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

Stinson, who is currently a professor of criminology at Bowling Green State University, said incidents that are sexual in nature in the police force are not as rare as people may think.

"Most officers that I know can suspect another officer that they know of that may have engaged in sexual misconduct," Stinson said. "In many police departments, there's a police subculture that allows this behavior to permeate."

Former Seattle Chief of Police and author Norm Stamper agrees.

"There's this tendency to believe, particularly given the lack of close supervision, that you can get away with it," Stamper said.

KEZI also spoke with Sexual Assault Support Services advocate Martina Shabrum to get more insight.

"Many perpetators offend against those accessible to them and those who are vulnerable in many ways," Shabrum said.

Stinson said the most common age of victims in police sexual misconduct cases is 14. He said that there must be a zero tolerance policy enacted in order to prevent this issue.

Lane County Sheriff Cliff Harrold responded to this matter in a statement: "Any unprofessional conduct, especially conduct that rises to the level of being criminal, is very concerning, and is not representative of the agency as a whole."

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