A Hopkinsville police officer resigned Monday after being charged with official misconduct for allegedly not taking a woman to jail in exchange for sex.
Former officer Daniel Gray was charged by Kentucky State Police with two counts of first-degree official misconduct. According to a criminal complaint, on Nov. 25, 2016, Gray reportedly served an arrest warrant for a probation violation, but instead of taking the woman to directly to Christian County Jail, he drove her to the Fairview Inn in Hopkinsville where the two engaged in intimate relations. He claimed he was taking her to get clothing and then took her to jail. The woman stated there were multiple sexual encounters with Gray which she understood to be in exchange for him not arresting her, the warrant states.
On another occasion, Aug. 21, Gray and an officer trainee reportedly found the woman at the American Inn and Gray declined to serve warrants on her. The report states his reasoning was that she had been providing good information to him.
Gray reportedly admitted to sexual relations with the woman on two occasions. The woman is not named in the report and it's Kentucky New Era policy to not name provide names of victims when allegations of sexual misconduct are made.
According to Chief Clayton Sumner, who called the Monday evening news conference, he became aware of the allegations Sept. 15. After checking body camera footage to ensure the encounters could have taken place, he contacted KSP to investigate and placed Gray in an administrative role pending the investigation. Gray was not allowed to drive a cruiser or wear a uniform during that time, Sumner said, assigning him to duties on post only.
“I want people to understand, officers of this department are being held accountable, plain and simple,” Sumner said, adding allegations like this gave a black-eye to the profession.
“No one’s going tolerate it.”
KSP served the arrest warrant Monday evening and booked Gray into Christian County Jail. He was later released on his own recognizance, according to the jail website.
According to a KSP news release, the investigation is on-going.
Why official misconduct and not third-degree rape?
First-degree official misconduct is a Class A misdemeanor in Kentucky, punishable by up to 12 months in jail. Had Gray been a corrections worker he potentially could have been charged with third-degree rape. That also applies to a teacher, coach or relative if the victim is a minor. Kentucky law does not appear to include police officers in the category of "person in a position of authority" or special trust.
Commonwealth's Attorney Lynn Pryor said the law needed to change and had this to say about police officers accused of abusing their authority:
"In any criminal sex offense involving two adults, the Kentucky Revised Statutes require 'forcible compulsion' unless one person is incapable of consent. KRS outlines specific reasons, within each degree of rape and sodomy, of how an individual would be considered incapable of consent. In first-degree cases, an adult victim must be physically helpless. For second-degree, it requires a victim to be mentally incapacitated. And, for third-degree, there are additional options. An adult would be considered a victim of third-degree rape or sodomy if they (1) have an intellectual disability, or (2) are incarcerated, under the supervision or treatment of the Department of Corrections, Department of Juvenile Justice, or a detention facility. With regard to (2), the accused must be a jailer or an employee, contractor, vendor or volunteer of DOC, DJJ or a detention facility or of an entity contracting with any of these departments or facilities for the custody, supervision, evaluation or treatment of offenders.
"Unfortunately, third-degree rape and sodomy charges are very specific and do not address a very important class of people. While there are sections that pertain to those who have inappropriate sexual activity while in a position of authority or special trust, those crimes are limited to ones that involve minor victims.
"I believe that our legislature needs to promptly address those sexual encounters that should be considered non-consensual by virtue of a law enforcement officer's express (or implied) authority over someone who is under arrest, who is in their custody, who has active arrest warrants or who is known to be currently under investigation by law enforcement.
"Punishing law enforcement officers who act in such a way with only misdemeanor charges, while punishing a jail employee who acts in the same manner with a felony, is patently unjust. No one, regardless of their criminal activity, should feel compelled to engage in sexual activity with someone simply because they are a sworn officer."
Reach Melissa Pettitt at 270-887-3226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.