A former Maryland police officer was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman he arrested after a traffic stop two years ago, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland announced on Thursday.
Martique Cabral Vanderpool, 32, of Fairmount Heights, Maryland was first arrested following an investigation by the Prince George’s County Police Department in 2019 but now faces an additional indictment of deprivation of civil rights under color of law—a federal criminal charge used against law enforcement when they allegedly use their power to violate another person’s rights or privilege.
Vanderpool was an officer with the Fairmount Heights Police Department when he stopped a 19-year-old female for speeding in Capitol Heights, Maryland on September 6, 2019.
The woman didn’t have a driver’s license, police said, so Vanderpool asked her to exit the vehicle. When she became upset Vanderpool allegedly told her he was going to have her car impounded, according to charging documents.
The former officer called a towing company while a second officer handcuffed the woman. Vanderpool later asked the woman if she was a prostitute after seeing condoms on the car’s armrest, the charging documents said. Her car was then towed.
Vanderpool proceeded to then drive the woman to the Fairmount Heights police station, police said, and allegedly threatened to put her in jail if she didn’t have sex with him.
The woman felt unsafe and had no way to leave the station, so she agreed, according to charging documents. After the alleged assault, Vanderpool cited the woman, which police said left her “confused and crying.” She retrieved her car from the towing company and left.
The indictment alleges that Vanderpool deprived the woman of the right to be free from unreasonable seizure by a person acting under color of law, which includes the right to be free from unwanted sexual assault by a police officer. It also alleges a civil rights violation including kidnapping; the use, attempted use, and threatened use of a firearm; and aggravated sexual abuse and attempted aggravated sexual abuse of the victim, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.
Vanderpool was indicted by a Maryland grand jury for the alleged assault in January 2020 on 11 counts including first-degree rape, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office, The Washington Post reported. Then-Prince George Police Chief Hank Stawinski said that Vanderpool was HIV-positive at the time of the incident and is accused of knowingly attempting to expose someone to the virus.
Soon after the alleged assault, Vanderpool resigned from the Fairmount Heights Police Department. Newsweek reached out to the department for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.
Federal prosecutors said that Vanderpool may face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted. His trial for state criminal charges is scheduled for February 2022.