Former East St. Louis Police Officer’s Prison Sentence Upheld
A former East St. Louis police officer lost his bid to have his 30-month federal prison sentence overturned, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Ramon T. Carpenter, 42, was convicted of two federal charges for making false statements to federal law enforcement officers during their investigation of a civil rights complaint. Carpenter was prosecuted for false statement crimes but was sentenced according to the law applicable to civil rights violations.
Carpenter appealed his January 31, 2013, sentence because it was far in excess of the sentence called for by the United States Sentence Guidelines. The applicable sentencing guideline suggested that the district court should have imposed between 6-12 months imprisonment. However, the United States Attorney’s Office sought and obtained a more severe sentence because of Carpenter’s egregious conduct.
Evidence in the case established that in the early morning hours of May 8, 2012, that a female motorist was driving near the intersection of Louisiana Blvd. and 25th Street, in East St. Louis, Ill. when she encountered East St. Louis police officers Ramon Carpenter and Chris Parks. The driver was intoxicated and driving with open liquor at the time. The driver believed that she would be arrested by the officers for driving with no license, no insurance, and for driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Instead of being arrested, the female alleged that she was driven to a secluded area in Jones Park, in East St. Louis, where she felt that she had to perform oral sex on the officer to avoid going to jail. When Carpenter was interviewed by federal agents he falsely denied being present in Jones Park during his shift and he also falsely denied receiving oral sex. An FBI investigation conclusively established that Carpenter had lied when agents located discarded napkins containing Carpenter’s semen.
Carpenter was fired from the East St. Louis police department on July 10, 2012, and was indicted by the federal grand jury on July 17, 2012.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the district court properly imposed the more serious sentence. The appellate court opinion noted that the factual disputes in the case were properly resolved by the judge who chose to believe the testimony of the victim “instead of the thrice-lying Carpenter and the complicit Parks.” The appellate court also validated the use of the more serious civil rights sentencing guidelines to the case, finding that implicit threats of arrest are a form of coercion that make sexual encounters nonconsensual.
US Attorney Wigginton said, “The appellate court decision is the final chapter to this sordid episode. The vast majority of law enforcement officers are good and decent public servants. However, this office will never hesitate to vigorously prosecute a corrupt officer when the evidence establishes a crime. This prosecution vindicated the dignity of a victim of sexual coercion and should serve to restore the public’s confidence in law enforcement.”
The investigation was conducted through the Metro East Public Corruption Task Force by agents from the Illinois State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft.