Both sides of the law


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Charge was expected

Charles was hired as a police officer in 1991. Three years later, he was investigated by internal affairs and referred to the district attorney’s office after a woman accused him of sexual assault, according to a summary of the investigation obtained under the state open records law.

The woman told police she had been drinking at a few south side taverns until around 1 a.m. Aug. 3, 1994, according to the summary. Charles, driving a squad car, followed her home, she said. The woman told investigators Charles said he planned to arrest her for drunken driving.

“The officer then told her that he wanted to walk with her into her apartment to make sure she lived there and that everything was all right,” the summary says.

The woman told investigators she was very intoxicated and may have blacked out. She remembers lying on the floor as the officer performed a sex act, the summary says. Afterward, she scrawled the name and badge number from his uniform on the cover of a magazine. The next day, she told her ex-boyfriend what had happened. He told her to put her clothes into a plastic bag to be used as evidence, which she did.

Charles told investigators he went into the woman’s apartment because she told him she had been assaulted by her ex-husband in the past and she wanted him to go inside to be sure she was safe, according to the summary. He said the two sexually touched each other consensually and the woman was not unconscious at any point, the summary says.

The investigator concluded that Charles went into the woman’s apartment “under the guise of ensuring her safety … and did have an act of sexual contact with her,” according to the summary.

The Journal Sentinel has learned the identity of the woman but could not locate her. The newspaper does not name victims of sexual assault.

An internal affairs report dated March 22, 1995, says: “As of the date of this report a charge of misconduct in public office is pending, but expected to be issued, by the district attorney’s office.”

But it was not.

The summary does not contain an explanation of why Charles was not charged. The district attorney’s records of the incident no longer exist because of a county policy that calls for destruction of files in uncharged cases after 10 years, Deputy District Attorney James J. Martin wrote in response to an open records request by the newspaper.

E. Michael McCann, who was district attorney at the time, did not return telephone calls.

Charles was suspended for 60 days for “failing to conform and abide by all the criminal laws of the state of Wisconsin and the ordinances of the City of Milwaukee” and for “idling and loafing while on duty,” according to his personnel record. He avoided being fired by receiving satisfactory monthly reports from his supervisor for a year, his personnel record shows.

“Idling and loafing” is the same count used to punish officers for sleeping on the job. It encompasses any on-duty behavior not related to police business.

In 2000, in a different incident, Charles was disciplined for filing a false official report, failing to appear in court and failing to obey an order by a superior officer, according to his personnel record.

He was promoted to sergeant in 2002. He works as a night shift supervisor in District 1.

2 separate accusations

Another officer avoided criminal prosecution and removal from the force after two different women accused him of sexual assault within two years.

Reginald Hampton’s first accuser said she met him when he responded to a domestic violence call involving her roommate and uncle, according to a summary of the internal affairs investigation. The two became friends and had consensual sex once, the woman told investigators. The woman said Hampton came to her apartment while he was on duty about seven times over a six-month period.

Around 11 p.m. Jan. 1, 1990, Hampton went to the woman’s apartment in his police uniform, she told investigators. She allowed him to handcuff her arms behind her back. She allowed him to caress and kiss her, but told him she did not want to have sex because she was menstruating, according to the summary.

“However, Officer Hampton disregarded her statement,” the summary says.

It goes on to say that according to the woman, Hampton placed her in a prone position and lifted her underwear. The remaining details of what occurred were redacted from the records provided to the Journal Sentinel. Afterward, the woman told the officer “he was sick,” and she “began to cry hysterically,” according to the records. She also went to the hospital.

Hampton told investigators the two had consensual sex previously. On the date in question, Hampton told investigators the woman did not cry “or act distressed in his presence,” according to records. He denied assaulting her.

After the newspaper dropped off a letter seeking an interview at the woman’s home in January, her mother called a reporter. The woman did not want to talk because she was still traumatized by the incident, her mother said.

Then-Assistant District Attorney John DiMotto did not charge Hampton with a crime because there was no evidence to corroborate the woman’s story, the two had a prior sexual relationship and Hampton passed a lie-detector test, according to the internal affairs summary.

Because no charges were issued and because Hampton denied any involvement in a sexual assault, “the scope of the internal investigation was limited to the alleged on-duty act of consensual sexual intercourse,” which occurred earlier, and the alleged on-duty visits to the woman’s apartment “without a legitimate police purpose,” the records say.

But because the woman could not detail the specific dates and times of those visits, and because Hampton told investigators he never went to her apartment while he was working, investigators ruled that complaint unsubstantiated, according to the summary.

Hampton admitted he had consensual sex with the woman earlier but said he was off-duty at the time. Because he was married and there is a state law against adultery, internal investigators concluded he violated a department policy against breaking the law.

The summary does not indicate whether he was referred to the district attorney’s office on that charge, which is almost never prosecuted. He was not criminally charged. His personnel record also shows no departmental discipline in connection with the incident.

Less than two years later, internal affairs investigators again referred Hampton to the district attorney’s office, this time for possible second-degree sexual assault charges, according to a summary of the investigation. Then-Assistant District Attorney Audrey Renschen did not file charges because the woman wanted Hampton disciplined by the department rather than criminally prosecuted, the summary says.

The Journal Sentinel was unable to determine the woman’s identity, which was redacted from the summary.

The woman and Hampton met when she went to the District 7 station to file a complaint against her boyfriend on Oct. 27, 1991, she told investigators. After taking the report, Hampton followed her to her mother’s house in his squad car and walked her to the door, the summary says. About an hour later, around 3 a.m., he rang the doorbell.

“He told her he was checking the area and just wanted to make sure she was all right,” the summary says.

The woman said Hampton called again the next evening, and again rang the doorbell in the middle of the night. This time, she let him in and he kissed her, the summary says. He returned about four more times that night. He called again the next evening, and then rang the doorbell around 1:30 a.m.

If Hampton had not been a police officer, she never would have let him into the house, she told investigators.

The woman told investigators Hampton performed oral sex on her even though she pushed him away and told him “no.” Eventually, she stopped pushing him and “went with the flow,” the summary says.

“She stated she felt safe, but didn’t want him to do what he did and that she didn’t scream when it was going on because she didn’t want her family to see what was happening,” the summary says.

Shortly after the encounter, the woman moved. She did not tell Hampton her new address, yet about six weeks later, he showed up there, she told investigators. After that, her boyfriend called police and she filed the sexual assault complaint.

Hampton told investigators he never kissed the woman, never had sexual contact with her and never assaulted her, according to the summary. He denied being at her house the day she said the assault occurred. He knocked on the door of her new home by coincidence because he was trying to figure out who had been driving a yellow Cadillac parked in the back, he told investigators.

The woman’s boyfriend told police he owned the Cadillac but he always parked in the garage.

“(There is) ample circumstantial evidence which leads one to conclude officer Hampton was untruthful in several of his responses during this investigation,” the summary says. “This untruthfulness clearly destroys officer Hampton’s credibility, consequently, there is no reason to believe his denial of the allegations made by (the woman).”

The investigator concluded that Hampton had nonconsensual sexual contact with the woman, visited her home for no apparent police purpose, and failed to maintain adequate documentation in his memo books, according to the summary. Then-Chief Philip Arreola fired Hampton.

The punishment was overturned by the Fire and Police Commission, which instead imposed a 60-day suspension, according to Hampton’s personnel record.

Hampton has been disciplined once since he was reinstated in June 1993. In 2005, he received an official reprimand for using department stationery for personal correspondence.

He works the day shift in court administration, according to his personnel record.

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