A 40-year-old police officer in San Antonio, Texas is facing charges of felony sexual assault after a 19-year-old woman accused him of handcuffing and raping her during a traffic stop over the weekend.
According to an arrested warrant obtained by the San Antonio Express-News, Officer Jackie Len Neal pulled over the teen, telling her that her car was reported stolen.
Even though the woman produced a sales slip for the vehicle, Neal insisted on patting her down. The woman told him she felt uncomfortable with the pat down and asked for a female officer, but he ignored her, the warrant said. The woman was allegedly groped, placed in handcuffs and then taken to the back of his patrol car.
Neal was accused of raping the woman and instructing her to keep it a secret.
At the time of the alleged assault, video cameras mounted in Neal's cruiser were not functioning because a hard drive was missing. However, a GPS tracking system did corroborate that the police cruiser was parked for 18 minutes on Betty Street as the woman had claimed.
At a press conference on Saturday, Police Chief William McManus said that Neal would have known the video recording system was not functioning in his cruiser.
“I can't express in words how disappointed and angry I am about this. I am at a loss for words,” McManus explained. “I am outraged. This is a punch in the eye to the Police Department.”
Neal was arrested by SAPD and Special Victims Unit detectives at around 2 a.m. on Saturday. The San Antonio Police Department asked the FBI to investigate possible civil rights violations in the case.
McManus confirmed that Neal had been suspended in September for dating an 18-year-old, who had joined the Police Explorer program in preparation for a law enforcement career. He had also been accused of sexual assault while on duty several years earlier, but the woman refused to cooperate with a police investigation and the charges were dropped.
The police chief called on any other victims to speak out.
“I praise the victim for having the courage to come forward and having the confidence in the SAPD to handle the case effectively,” he remarked.
“There is no such thing a consensual sex on duty,” McManus pointed out. “I feel silly even saying that we won't tolerate it. Of course we won't tolerate it. There is no gray area. This is a criminal offense.”
Neal was released after posting a $20,000 bond. The police department will continue to pay him until he is indicted.