[Trigger warning for sex-related invasion of privacy.]

William Vasilakos, who was arrested in Stamford, Connecticut on Aug. 16, 2008 on a breach-of-peace charge and detained overnight, has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the arresting officer, Michael Presti, nicked Vasilakos' cell phone from the station and forwarded "racy photographs and videos" of Vasilakos and his girlfriend discovered on he phone.
According to the federal complaint, Presti kept the phone with him instead of leaving it with the police department, then forwarded eight messages to his own phone.

Vasilakos was outraged when he later saw the material had been sent to an address he did not recognize, [Vasilakos' attorney Norman Pattis] said.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. district court. Vasilakos is a plaintiff along with his girlfriend at the time, Maria Saltsides. The only defendant named in the suit is Presti.

Pattis said Stamford police investigated Presti's conduct and there were disciplinary proceedings, but he was not aware of the outcome.
Quite obviously, not all police officers behave in this way, but this is hardly the first time I've had occasion to post about a story like this in six years of blogging.

Not long ago, someone tried to run the old "what's wrong with women who don't report being sexually harassed/assaulted" rap on me, and I was just a Wall of No. I absolutely cannot tolerate listening to that shit anymore.

Anyone who wonders why a survivor of sexual assault might be disinclined to report it need look no further than the lesson taken from this story: Because the Rape Culture is alive and well in police departments, too.

I certainly don't intend to imply that should discourage people from reporting sex crimes. It shouldn't, because there are lots of awesome cops and prosecutors who really do a great job. But should or shouldn't isn't the issue. The issue is that it does deter some people.

Because you don't know what you're going to find when you walk in the door of a precinct or dial 911.

You could find Detective Olivia Benson, or you could find a cop who treats your cell phone videos as his own private porn.

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