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Velda City police officer admits to sexual assault

By Cecilia Razak, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Former Velda City, Mo., auxiliary reserve police officer Joe Phillips admitted today to violating the federal civil rights of the woman he sexually assaulted while on duty. Phillips, 38, also pleaded guilty to hiding evidence of his crime from federal investigators, announced Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division.

Phillips apparently pulled over a female driver on July 9, 2006 and proceeded to search her purse and car. He then lead the victim to an isolated parking lot and sexually assaulted her. He subsequently lied to the FBI repeatedly, and concealed evidence in order to throw the investigation off track.

"Law enforcement officers who betray the public trust by stepping outside the law to assault and abuse the rights of others will be vigorously prosecuted," said Loretta King. "This shameful and unlawful conduct undermines the tireless efforts of the vast majority of law enforcement officers who perform their duties with honor and professionalism."

Phillips' sentencing is scheduled for April 30, 2009; he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and/or a $250,000 fine on the civil rights violation, and a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a fine of $250,000 for lying to the FBI.


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