Alleged Victim Testifies Against Former Police Officer in Sexual Assault Trial


POSTED: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 6:23pm

UPDATED: Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 2:41pm

EL PASO – It was an emotional day in court as the woman who accuses a former El Paso police officer of sexually assaulting her, testified against him.

The 46-year-old woman, who NewsChannel 9 is not identifying, broke down in tears when she told prosecutors that 29-year-old Zake Rivera forced her to perform oral sex on him in the back seat of a police car.

Rivera's defense attorney doesn't deny that the sex act took place, but argues that it was consensual.

It happened last January, when Rivera and another officer were dispatched to the 46-year-old woman's west El Paso apartment on a domestic disturbance call.

The woman testified Tuesday that she called 911 because her husband had intentionally cut himself with a knife.

When the officers arrived, she said they separated her from her husband. She claims Rivera led her outside to her police car and she sat down in the back seat, with her legs facing out.

The woman testified that Rivera stood against the open car door in front of her and, “he got my head and drew it to his crotch area and his pants were unzipped."

The woman said she performed oral sex on him. Rivera didn't say anything to her before she did it, she said. Prosecutors asked why she didn't fight back.

“He had a gun. He had a tazor. He had a badge. He's doing this to me in the back of his police car. He's supposed to be the law," she testified.

However, on cross-examination, the woman seemed less sure about her story and was unable to remember details about the event when pressed by the defense.

She admitted she told a number of different versions of the story to investigators.

In July, months after the alleged sexual assault, she called 911 and told the operator that Rivera hadn't done anything.

"It didn't happen. It's my fault," she said during the phone call.

The woman said she was drunk and on medication when she placed the call.

The defense also questioned why the woman later made false claims that Rivera's wife, sister and mother had all also assaulted her.

The trial continues tomorrow morning. Stay with for updates from the courtroom.

Comments News Comments

Like I mentioned before in another posting from this same case, the real question is about trusting a person with a position of authority. When an intimidating officer/person acts in a certain manner (unzipping his pants in this case), who do you turn to for help when the "help" is right in front of you? Now does this woman deserve compensation? Probably. How much? That has to be determined. The officer does however deserve to be punished for abusing his "position of authority".

Yes, Police officers do use their position of authority to intimidate people, BUT is that the case here?

Yes, he unzipped his pants while on duty, and bottom line, when all is said and done, he was on duty, in a position of authority and 'deposited' his DNA evidence on this womans clothing.

Was it consensual? Was it forced? Is the woman entitled to compensation from the City of El Paso for having a uniformed police officer, while on duty, perform this act with/to her?

Tough questions.

First of all police officers do use their position to intimidate many a people and women in particular can feel more intimidated. Second the officer did unzip his pants-while on duty- in front of her first while being with her alone, not even doctors undress a patient or anything like that without asking a patient if they are comfortable being alone with them first. Third stories like these are not uncommon all over the world so why should we believe an officer with his manipulative lawyer?

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