The trial of New Orleans police officer Michael Thomassie just ended Friday afternoon. The jury found him guilty of raping a young girl in October of 2003. Why has so much time passed? Because Thomassie hid the allegations for a dozen years and the girl was too scared to report it.
Thomassie was charged with aggravated rape for abusing his then-girlfriend’s daughter — who was seven at the time — and pleaded not guilty back in March. The trial got under way this week. Thomassie showed his disregard for the law by texting his girlfriend during jury selection on Wednesday. His phone was promptly confiscated.
The jury heard from Sgt. Lawrence Jones, a child abuse detective in NOPD’s Special Victims Section, on Thursday. Jones said that he thought it suspicious that Thomassie never reported the allegations:
“You don’t keep that a secret. You let a supervisor know about something as serious as that. It’s a requirement for the police department to report if you’re being accused of a crime.”
Jones noted that Thomassie, who said that the girl’s mother was a “bad person” and drug user, reported lesser allegations made by her. Jones found it very odd that Thomassie would report those, but not something as major as child rape.
The victim, now 19, testified on Thursday as well. She tearfully described the incident that occurred that October day in 2003:
“I was laying on the couch, and he said he could ‘make me feel better. He took my bottoms off. He made me get on all fours. He tried to put it inside of me and I didn’t let him, because it really hurt. When I told him to stop, he stopped. But he was mad and made me go into the other room. He told me to go into the dining room and get on my knees. … He just told me to shut up and be quiet, and don’t say nothing.”
The assault ended when the girl’s mother came into the room and screamed. The victim thought that her mother was angry at her and was afraid. Although the mother reportedly brought it up several times, and threatened to tell Thomassie’s supervisor, both mother and daughter remained silent for years.
The girl’s mother also testified, saying that she should be “judged right along with” Thomassie, as she knew about it and did nothing. But, she said, it was her word against the word of a cop. Who would they believe? The impetus for the girl to come forward now was the news of Thomassie’s engagement to another woman with a young daughter.
The short trial ended Friday afternoon, when the jury found Thomassie guilty of aggravated rape. He has been placed on suspension without pay as the paperwork to terminate him gets completed.
After the verdict was read and Thomassie arrested, NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison made this short statement:
“I am disgusted by the unspeakable actions of this officer, and based on this conviction, I am taking immediate steps to remove him from within our ranks. There is no place in this department for officers who choose to commit acts of violence. My thoughts and prayers are with the victim, her family and the family of Officer Thomassie during this tragic situation.”
Thomassie faces life in prison for his horrible crime.
The most important thing here is that Thomassie will not have the chance to molest his fiancee’s daughter. Though it took a dozen years, this dangerous sicko will be out of circulation. Bravo to that jury for believing the victim instead of blaming her.
Photo Credit: Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office via NOLA.com