Trumball, Connecticut saw a former police officer, William Ruscoe, start a 30-month sentence this week for handcuffing and raping a teenage girl in his home, in a case that can only be described as a total insult to justice.
The 45-year-old Ruscoe, who resigned from the police department following his arrest and later pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault, blamed his crime on financial problems that made it hard to support his wife and two children and a lack of support from the state’s criminal justice system- he claimed a man who threatened him with a gun was released on probation, according to Connecticut Postings.
During a sentencing hearing Ruscoe pleaded with the court to give him a downward departure in sentencing from the 6-year prison term he agreed to in his plea bargain.
“Please show them (his children) the justice system their daddy worked to uphold for nearly 20 years is also fair and compassionate,” Ruscoe urged the judge.
State’s Attorney John Smriga added that he felt the agreed upon plea deal of a 6-year sentence was appropriate for the crime committed by Ruscoe.
Honestly, that sounds really fair. It’s about par for these type cases. But what happens when Superior Court Judge Robert Devlin got a hold of the case?
While acknowledging that children need to be protected, Devlin, in a slap in the face to all sexual assault victims, said he was giving Ruscoe credit for his years of good service with the police department and only sentencing him to 30-months rather than the agreed upon plea deal of 72-months.
So his sentence gets reduced by more than half, simple because he was a cop? Right there is the problem. It’s not that this cop “was a good cop”, but rather that this “good cop” now betrayed the public trust. That alone should merit the 72-month sentence, if not more.
When you read stories like this, you can almost see why prosecutors just don’t really try to get an indictment against police. I mean why should they even waste the time, when some asshole judge is going to greatly diminish even a plea deal?
This also perpetuates the problems gripping this country today. We always hear that “most cops are good people, just wanting to do their job.” Knowing a lot of police officers, I have to agree, but then we get the bad cops, getting preferential treatment when breaking the law, simply because of their profession, and the line between good cop and bad cop gets very fuzzy to the public. Add to what the judge had the nerve to tell the victim and her family:
“I know you have really been traumatized by this situation. But I ask you, when you walk out of this courtroom, leave it here. There is a path forward for you and you have what you need to go forward.”
“Leave it here?” A teenage girl, with aspirations of becoming one of those good cops, was held against her will, stripped and raped by not only a cop, but also her mentor, and you expect her to “leave it here?” Judge Devlin just added to the assault, by mentally raping this girl and her family, and this guy is part of our justice system? Why should anyone report the bad cops when you got rapist-apologists sitting on the bench, coming close to silencing a victim?
But Devlin wasn’t actually in the room, holding that girl down while Ruscoe took away a child’s innocence and scared her for life. Instead, Devlin raped another victim, and this poor lady is being victimized by far too many judges.
Yes, that victim. She’s already blindfolded, but we all know her assailants without the need for sight. They are the ones in similar garb, wearing robes, sitting behind a bench and banging a gavel, declaring that police who chose to break the law, no matter how heinous the crime, not be treated as harshly as a regular criminal, simply because the defendant was a police officer.
Until judges like Devlin are removed from the bench and stripped of any law license and police held to the same standard as the rest of the country, then what we see happening in Ferguson, New York and around the country will only continue to grow. Perhaps the answer to our problems doesn’t lie in repairing police relations, but in devising a system of accountability for the people ones who are supposed to be impartial and handout justice.