CHICAGO; A Chicago police officer is convicted of sexually assaulting a woman inside her home three-and-a-half years ago.
ABC 7 Chicago By Paul Meincke
This was a bench trial, and the judge had to determine who to believe – a Chicago police sergeant with 20 years on the force or a woman with a history of drug abuse. Both took the stand. Ultimately, it was the sergeant’s own words that sank his credibility. During his trial, Herman testified that the only sex he had with his “sex friend” was consensual and that she later cried rape because she was a crack addict, angling for money.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re addicted to crack. You don’t get to be raped by a Chicago police sergeant. So it was coming down to her versus the Chicago police sergeant. When he took that stand, I believe he lied,” said Kimellen Chamberlain, asst. state’s attorney.
That is also what the judge believed. Judge Joseph Claps stood behind his bench Monday afternoon and called Herman’s testimony “unreasonable.” He then found the 20-year police officer guilty of rape, kidnapping and official misconduct. Herman grimaced, took a deep breath and bowed his head. He appeared stunned when the judge immediately revoked his bond. Deputies then walked Herman out of the courtroom and into custody.
“He is shocked. I told him I would see him over at the jail. We would go over the issues that are apparent to me for purposes of appeal,” said Herman’s attorney, Peter Hickey.
The judge said despite some minor inconsistencies, he believed Herman’s accuser, whose claim was bolstered by DNA evidence.
“I think she has to be relieved. She has to have a renewed sense of faith in the justice system,” said Matthew Belcher, victim’s attorney.
Judge Claps also rebuked two Chicago police detectives who took the stand on Herman’s behalf. Claps called their testimony unbelievable and said, “I will be sending a copy of their testimony to the superintendent of police for review.”
The rape occurred in 2004, while Sgt. Herman was on duty. Herman and the city of Chicago are being sued in federal court.
“While we are very, very grateful to the judge for his remarks, we also know the way the Chicago police department was,” said Ben Nwoye, victim’s attorney.
That civil case is scheduled to begin in February in federal court. It presents the possibility of yet another financial judgment against the city for an action by a police officer. As for the two detectives whose testimony in the case was rejected by the judge as being unbelievable and incredible, the police department says it will investigate their testimony and their actions in the case.
Herman is no longer being paid. He is now behind bars and looking minimally at 18 years in prison, which is about the length of time he was on the force.
(Copyright ©2007 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)