The Baltimore Sun reports that the Baltimore County Police Department has fired an officer who was convicted of second-degree rape. Former Officer Anthony Westerman faced a sentence of up to 50 years when convicted in August of multiple sexual assaults against three victims. Instead, a judge rescinded one conviction and sentenced Westerman to 15 years - 11 of those suspended, and 4 on home detention. Westerman will serve no immediate time in jail for his crimes.
In a joint statement shared by The Baltimore Sun, MCASA and TurnAround Inc. noted rape causes psychological harm. The law should be changed to reflect that a survivor’s word is enough to prove psychological injury.
“It is time for us to ask serious questions of ourselves and of the systems which are supposed to protect us...Every light sentence like this one says to the survivor - this is not a big deal. Ultimately, this entrenched blame-the-victim mentality causes immense harm to all survivors and perpetuates a lack of trust in the justice system.”
If you, or a loved one, are a survivor of sexual violence in Maryland, help is available
Survivors in Baltimore can call TurnAround’s 24/7 helpline at (443) 279-0379 or text (410) 498-5956 for advocacy and counseling services.
To find your local rape crisis center, visit our website or call 211 to be connected with local resources.
For legal support, call MCASA's Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI): 301-565-2277, or toll-free 877-496-SALI.
MCASA advocates annually in Annapolis for legislation that promotes justice for survivors, accountability for offenders, and protection for the general public.
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