Tuesday, September 8, 1992
The case of Jane DoeEditorial
In 1989, a Jane Doe went to Metro Police complaining that a sergeant, Brain Whitehead, had coerced her into sex by threatening her with a prostitution charge.
She had a right to expect police would pursue her allegations of sexual assault and extortion against an officer as vigorously as it would investigate a civilian, and treat her with dignity.
Instead, the force leaned over backward to protect Whitehead and its own image, while publicly humiliating Jane Doe in the process.
But now, a provincial inquiry headed by Frank D'Andrea says the case highlights "serious problems in the treatment of victims" by the Metro Police. Here's why:
But the ultimate indignity to Jane Doe occurred when she had to obtain a court order to stop police from breaking their promise to protect her anonymity.
As D'Andrea points out, the internal affairs unit has defended its actions throughout as "totally proper, totally correct and totally legal."
Meanwhile, the chief denies responsibility and defends what he calls the good-faith actions of the tarnished internal affairs unit.
D'Andrea's report vindicates Jane Doe, where others let her down -- and, in the process, has struck a blow for other victims of police wrongdoing.
But until the force overcomes a disturbing aversion to criticism and is given progressive leadership, prospects for reform must remain bleak.
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Created: December 4, 1998|
Last modified: December 4, 1998
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