CPE Response to Washington Post Investigation into Police Officers' Sexual Exploitation of Children

June 12 2024

This week, the Washington Post published an investigation detailing the sexual crimes perpetrated by police officers against children across the country. The Center for Policing Equity is appalled by what the Washington Post reporters uncovered, from the crimes themselves to the failure of our criminal legal system to properly sentence, and in some cases even charge, the officers convicted of these crimes. To read that 40% of convicted officers were not sentenced to prison is horrific. To read that some of those failures to convict were a direct result of disrupted investigations, the destruction of evidence, and the intimidation of victims and their families is infuriating.

Whether it be domestic violence or abuse of community members in the course of their work, we affirm the need for a national tracking system for officers accused of or convicted of heinous crimes. Law enforcement agencies must redesign their hiring practices and implement processes for supervising, reporting and holding officers and staff accountable for inappropriate behaviors. We must support victims by championing legislation like Pennsylvania House Bill 1847, “which would make corruption of minors a felony in all cases where the defendant holds a position of authority, including as a police officer.”

We cannot allow predators with a badge to hide behind a flawed system and continue to rob children of their childhoods.