A former Florida police officer walked out of court a free man after a jury cleared him Tuesday of raping a woman on the hood of his patrol car, the Sun Sentinel reports. The defense had presented a photograph of the woman in high school posing with a car and argued it was a “strikingly similar position” to her alleged rape.
Stephen Maiorino, 36, a former Boyton Beach police officer, had been accused of forcing the woman to have oral sex with him then taking her to an abandoned field where he raped her on the hood of his car while on duty. The jury deliberated for 10 hours before clearing him, prompting the victim to leave the court room in tears, saying, “No, no!”
The Sentinel reports the case hinged on the credibility of the 21-year-old woman. Maiorino’s defense said he simply had the bad judgment to have consensual sex with the woman while on duty. Maiorino is married with two small children and had been on the police force for eight years before resigning.
Michael Salnick, Maiorino’s attorney, used as evidence a picture of the woman in high school, where she posed bent over the hood of a car with her hands behind her back which he said was “strikingly similar” to the one the woman found herself in at the alleged crime scene. The woman said the photo didn’t have any sexual overtones and didn’t hint at any cop car sex fantasy, the Sentinel reports.
The woman had reportedly been hanging out with a man at a bar before he drove through a DUI checkpoint and was arrested after a brief pursuit. This left the woman stranded. Maiorino offered to take the woman to the police station where she could call her mother and get picked up.
The woman said that while parked at the police station, Maiorino threatened to arrest her for underage drinking unless she performed oral sex. She accused him of unzipping the fly of his uniform and holding her head down. He then drove to a secluded area, forced her to take her clothes off and raped her on the car while he was holding his gun to her head, the Sentinel reports.
“I thought I was going to die … I was praying for it to stop,” she had said.
Maiorino’s defense maintained the sex was consensual and he had given the woman a business card so he could see her again, a claim the woman’s mother and sister had denied.
Afterward, Maiorino drove back to the station and acted as though nothing had happened. The woman was taken to the hospital and wrote Maiorino’s name on a slip of paper so that her mother could report the allegation.
The woman, who works as a waitress at a chain restaurant, said that Maiorino had threatened her that “If you tell anybody, I will find you and I will kill you.”