The Atlanta Injury News Blog

UGA Police Officer Accused of Aggravated Sodomy

Most people don't consider sodomy to be a criminal act. That's because it generally isn't when consenting adults are involved. However, forced or aggravated sodomy can be prosecuted as a crime in Georgia.

A University of Georgia police officer may soon be charged under Georgia's law. Athens-Clarke police are investigating the 28-year-old officer for possible aggravated sodomy, after a woman filed a complaint claiming the officer forced her to have anal sex, the Athens Banner-Herald reports.

The alleged victim, 28, told police that she and the officer had consensual sex four months ago. The woman claims she refused to have anal sex, but the officer allegedly forced her to do so, according to the police report.

Sodomy, or oral and anal sex, was still considered a crime in Georgia until the Powell v. State of Georgia decision in 1998. In that case, the state Supreme Court held that law criminalizing consensual sodomy violated the state Constitution's privacy protections and struck down the law.

But the Powell decision didn't strike down Georgia's aggravated sodomy law. That law makes it illegal to force another person to have anal or oral sex. If the officer here is convicted of the crime, he could potentially be sentenced to 10 years to life in prison.

The UGA officer may be subject to civil liability as well. If the allegations are true, the victim could sue the officer for sexual battery. Sexual battery is the civil equivalent of rape or sexual assault. Instead of penalizing the officer with fines and jail time, a civil suit would allow the alleged victim to receive compensation for any injuries, pain and suffering, and emotional distress the incident caused her.

UGA police have placed the accused officer on paid leave for the time being. "Once the investigation is completed, we will conduct an internal affairs review to determine if there were any policy violations," UGA's police chief told the Athens Banner-Herald.

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