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hung jury in trial former police officer

Thursday, April 05, 2018 09:41 AM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

The trial of a former Michigan City police officer accused of having sex with a mentally disadvantaged woman ended Tuesday night in a hung jury.

The jury also found Tom Jackson not guilty one of the remaining counts.

Jackson, 54, stood trial in LaPorte Superior Court 1 on four counts of level 3 felony rape.

Rape was alleged because the 25-year old woman with the mind of a child was not legally capable of giving consent, according to prosecutors.

During closing arguments, LaPorte County chief deputy prosecutor Mark Roule said the woman looks practically normal and even attractive to some degree.

When she begins interacting, though, he said it doesn't take long to realize she has the mind of a young child.

Roule said Jackson wanted only her body and knew he could take full advantage of her.

''Nothing suggests she's a consenting adult,'' he said.

According to the evidence, the woman and her parents were at a social gathering when introduced to Jackson, a 27-year member of the force at that time.

Several months later, Jackson began asking if he could take her out for ice cream and coffee or walks in the park.

Her parents thinking such experiences would be a positive for their daughter gave him permission, police said.

But, Roule said he took her to places like a hotel and back of his van to engage in sex.

The allegations came to light when an officer approached the van at Prairie Meadow Park in Westville because the park was about to close.

Unable to see inside from the windows being covered, the officer called them out and told Jackson and the woman to engage in such behavior in a more private setting, police said.

He then sent them on their way.

The woman frightened by the encounter told her mother and revealed other sexual encounters with Jackson, who later resigned from the department.

Defense attorney Craig Braje said his client might have to ''answer to his maker'' for what he did and doing so while married but his actions were not criminal.

Braje said his client knew only that ''she had a learning disability and she was special.''

He also said the woman had skills in her decision making from the birds and the bees talks she had with her mother and advice on waiting until marriage to have intercourse.

Her understanding was further enhanced by a sex toy given to her by her mother who on her daughter's 21st birthday took her to see male strippers.

Braje also said her parents took her to social gatherings where she was overheard by other adults talking about sex.

''The reality is they were two adults having an affair and continued it in a relationship over a period of time,'' Braje said.

Roule said the woman can't read or write and is under the legal guardianship of her parents.

He said the adult experiences her parents introduced her to was their way of making her feel like everyone else and could not have increased her level of understanding.

He also said it was impossible for Jackson not to know the full extent of her disability because of the amount of time they spent with each other and his years of experience as a police officer.

''He saw what he wanted to see for his purposes. A girl in a normal person's body,'' Roule said.
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