Suspended Lawrence Police Officer Guilty of Rape
A Newburyport Superior Court jury this afternoon found suspended Lawrence Police Officer Kevin Sledge, 48, of Salem, NH, guilty of rape, and three counts of indecent assault and battery.
Judge Richard Welch will sentence Sledge, who was immediately taken into custody, at 9 a.m. on February 3, in Newburyport Superior Court. The jury deliberated for about 10 hours over two days before returning its verdict, following the five-day trial.
Essex Assistant District Attorney Kate B. MacDougall proved that on September 26, 2008, Sledge picked up an intoxicated woman in his personal car while he was on duty and drove her back to the police station, where he left her in his car in a back parking lot. Sledge returned to his vehicle several times over the course of the next two hours where he digitally raped and indecently assaulted the 23-year-old victim.
Sledge was placed on paid leave following his arrest, and was taken off the payroll following his indictment on October 24, 2008.
MacDougall commended the work of Lawrence Police Lt. Steven Scheffen, Lawrence Police Lt. Mary Bartlett, Lawrence Police Captain Dennis Pierce, Lawrence Police Sgt. John Dushame, Massachusetts State Police Detective Lt. Norman Zuk, and retired Massachusetts State Police Detective Lt. Elaine Gill, as well as Victim/Witness Advocate Jocelyn Pichardo. .
She also praised the victim for her courage in seeing this prosecution through.
Sledge, who was represented by Attorney John Morris, faces up to 20 years in state prison on the rape conviction, and up to five years in state prison on each of the indecent assault and battery convictions.