A Providence, RI police officer, Marcus Huffman, was found guilty in a rape case, stemming from a 2007 incident involving a young woman who got into the officer’s car after a night of drinking and ended up awaking partially undressed in a substation bathroom.
This wasn’t Huffman’s first time in trouble… Pop the hood for the dirty details.
A loud cry came from a woman in the back row of the small courtroom Thursday as a Superior Court jury found a Providence police officer guilty of raping her.
Marcus Huffman, 39, who had been free on bail since his indictment, was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs. He’s being held without bail at the Adult Correctional Institutions.
The Fall River woman, now 22, had been drinking heavily with her friends before they got to Platforms Dance Club on March 17, 2007, and was turned away at the door. Her friends went in without her. At some point, Huffman pulled up to the club in his police cruiser and the woman got into the front seat under the impression he would take her home, she said. He took her to a substation in South Providence around 1 a.m., where the woman said she passed out in the bathroom.
She awoke hours later partially disrobed, with throbbing pain in her vagina. Huffman was gone. She went to her aunt’s house nearby where relatives reported the rape. Experts testified that Huffman’s sperm was found on the woman’s underwear, though a rape kit did not show evidence of trauma to the woman’s vagina.
Huffman was suspended without pay after his August 2007 indictment. Deputy Chief Paul J. Kennedy said Thursday that Huffman’s status with the department will not change until he has exhausted or terminates any appeals in the case. Defense lawyer Robert Caron said Huffman plans to appeal the verdict.
The trial nearly ended in mistrial days into testimony when it was revealed that the victim had been taken to the substation with Rhode Island State Police detectives in the days after the incident, unbeknown to both the defense and the prosecution. Judge Netti C. Vogel said that the damage to the defendant was not irreversible and the trial continued.
Caron said that was a “big blow” to his case that forced him to change his strategy mid-trial and would “certainly be an issue for appeal.” He also cited the testimony of Dr. Christine Barron, clinical director of the Child Protection Program at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, who examined the victim two months after the incident and testified to incomplete documentation in the initial sexual-assault evidence collection report as grounds for appeal. Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch called Huffman’s actions “inappropriate, horrific and illegal,” and said he was confident the conviction would be upheld on appeal.
Sixteen years ago, Huffman was a rookie police officer with the Providence Police Department. In 1995, Huffman, then 25, was indicted after being accused of having sex with a 10-year-old girl when he was 16 and 17. The judge threw out the case because she said she found no evidence of coercion. On that same day, in another courtroom, Huffman faced charges that he demanded oral sex from a prostitute. That case was also dismissed.
In 1998, Huffman was suspended without pay for failing to show up for a hearing on a complaint that he beat a 14-year-old boy with a billy club. That same year, he was found guilty of three misdemeanor assault charges and given a one-year suspended sentence after he got into an altercation with employees at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
The rape victim filed a civil case on March 11 — days before the trial began — naming Huffman, the City of Providence and Police Chief Dean M. Esserman as defendants. The case does not request a specific amount in punitive or compensatory damages.
SMH. She’s got her justice for now, but seriously, how did this guy keep his job for so long?
That civil case could cost the City and Police Department heavily, especially with Huffman’s history.