KUSA — A woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by a former Lakewood Police officer reported the crime through a new online system in Denver, police said.
Denver Police first announced “Seek Then Speak” earlier this year. It’s part of a national program, designed by End Violence Against Women International.
Seek then Speak allows victims to report the crime online, rather than in person, if they feel more comfortable. People can even remain anonymous when they report a sexual assault. The program guides someone through several questions which will help build a detailed report for authorities.
“It can be so less scary to start by…making a report online,” said Karmen Carter, executive director of The Blue Bench, a sexual assault prevention and care center in Denver.
“I think, in this case, especially when someone was going to report about another police officer, that had to be incredibly scary to reach out and make that report.”
The former Lakewood officer, Randall Shaun Butler, is facing two charges of sexual assault.
Denver Police said he was on duty and in his police patrol car when he offered to give a stranded woman a ride home. Instead, he allegedly drove her to a vacant parking lot, sexually assaulted her, then left the woman there and drove away.
Butler was placed on administrative leave in Lakewood, then resigned, officials said.
“Most police officers aren’t bad people who commit crimes,” Carter said. “I don’t want people to suddenly feel like they can’t trust a police officer and ask for help when they need it. And at the same time, no one is above the law.”
Carter said the woman who reported Butler’s alleged crimes is courageous.
“People do choose to stand up and speak out about what happened to them, and their reporting is taken seriously, especially when they've taken on someone such as a law enforcement officer, that’s an important step,” she said. “And I have so much respect, and just want to acknowledge how much courage this survivor has shown in taking these steps.”