Zake Rivera Testifies In His Own Defense: “I Never Forced Her”
POSTED: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 7:11pm
UPDATED: Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 12:55pm
Ex-Cop Claims Accuser Initiated Sexual Contact
EL PASO – A very different story emerged in court today as a former El Paso police officer took the stand to testify in his own defense.
Zake Rivera is accused of forcing a 46-year-old woman to perform oral sex on him while he was on-duty earlier this year. Rivera told the jury Wednesday that what he did was wrong, but it wasn't illegal. Rivera said the woman initiated the sexual encounter.
"I messed up. I didn't force her, but I messed up. I know what I did was wrong," he said.
Rivera testified that he was dispatched to a domestic disturbance at the woman's west El Paso apartment on the evening of January, 23, 2011. When he arrived, Rivera and another officer separated the woman and her husband for individual questioning.
Rivera testified that the woman began to hit on him.
"She told me I looked good in my uniform and that I'm very good looking," he said.
Rivera offered to let the woman wait in his police car outside, while another officer questioned her husband inside the apartment. Rivera testified that he walked with the woman outside and she sat down in the front passenger seat with the door open, while he leaned against a rock wall nearby.
Rivera said the woman began tearfully telling him about how her husband called her degrading names and treated her poorly.
Then, she lifted up her shirt and exposed her breasts, according to Rivera.
Rivera testified the woman told him how she had performed oral sex on police officers and firefighters when she used to work as a stripper at a local club.
"'I bet I can make your eyes roll back,'" Rivera claims she told him. "She grabbed me by my utility belt and pulled me towards her and said 'Let me see it.'"
Rivera said he unzipped his pants and allowed to woman to perform oral sex on him.
"I wasn't thinking. All I was thinking is that we were engaging in a consensual sexual act."
Rivera told the jury that he didn't threaten the woman in any way.
"It was wrong for me to do. I was on the department. It was unethical and unprofessional. I should have know better. I never forced her. I never grabbed her. My hands were on top of the car," Rivera testified.
After the encounter, Rivera said the two went back up to the woman's apartment where she attempted to give him her phone number. Rivera said she “seemed fine.”
On Tuesday, the alleged victim testified that Rivera had forced her to give him oral sex using his power as a police officer.
“He had a gun. He had a tazor. He had pepper spray. 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. The woman cried through most of her testimony. “He got my head and drew it to his crotch area and his pants were unzipped," she told the jury.
Rivera was fired from the police force in March after the allegations surfaced. Closing arguments begin tomorrow morning.