A fourth alleged rape victim of ex-Phillipsburg police officer Justin Sanderson testified Wednesday that she was handcuffed, patted down inappropriately and violated by the officer at the village’s offices.
The 46-year-old woman told a similar story as Tuesday’s alleged victim did about Sanderson, 33, on trial for 19 counts including rape, kidnapping and other charges against four women in three incidents in May and June 2017.
The woman — who is not being named by this news organization because she may be a victim of a sex crime — said Sanderson showed up at her door on June 2, 2017, came into her house and said she had an outstanding warrant.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL
• DAY 1: Prosecutors: Ex-officer on trial for rape sought ‘vulnerable’ women
• DAY 2: Ex-cop accused of rape says he was ‘professional’ with prostitutes
• DAY 3: Woman testifies about actions after traffic stop in 2017
The women testified that Sanderson didn’t show her any paperwork, mentioned the woman’s husband also having a warrant and told her to face away from him for a pat down.
“He asked if I had underwear on and I told him that was none of his business,” the woman said during Sanderson’s trial in front of Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Dankof. “On the way out (of the house) I said can I grab my cell phone because my husband just changed cell number I didn’t know it by heart. He said don’t worry about that.”
The woman said most of the lights were off in the Phillipsburg village building as she kept asking to see proof any any warrant. She said he patted her down again, which she thought was odd.
“This time was different,” the woman said. “He was more feeling, more touching. It’s not what you expect from a police officer.”
The woman said Sanderson felt under her clothing and touched her breasts and that she felt “frozen.” She said she looked at the building’s door and testified that, “If I were to scream, no one would hear me” and “I had a really bad feeling, and I didn’t know what my options were. How would I defend myself against a police officer?”
The woman said she told him he had seen her out with children and that he said words to the effect that, “You may not realize how hot you are.”
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The woman testified that Sanderson felt him touch the top of her neck and that she cringed as he touched down her back, her breast and inside her.
“I said I’m not that kind of girl, not that kind of person,” she testified. “I stated just take me to jail. Take me to jail.”
The woman said there was a “lot of really, really awkward silence before and after that” and that Sanderson just stared at her and made a noise like exhaling.
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She said eventually Sanderson took her back home and asked if he could come back inside her house. She said no, locked the doors and windows and called her husband.
“I knew as soon as told my parents and husband they would want me to report it,” she said. “I was afraid that is was his word against my word. … I thought they would sweep it under the rug or cover it up.”
The woman said Sanderson came back to her house the next Friday and that her daughter was with her when she told him never to come back.
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“I shut my front door and locked it, and my daughter’s standing there with her mouth open,” the woman said, adding that her daughter didn’t know about the first incident and was taught to be respectful of police officers.
On cross examination, the woman said she did have a warrant, that she took care of it and that her and her husband have sued Phillipsburg, the village’s police chief and Sanderson.
The woman also testified her husband contacted a law enforcement friend who passed the information along. She also said she saw media reports about Sanderson being arrested for alleged rape of two women and that was before she was interviewed by an FBI agent.
The state has at least one more witness scheduled to testify Thursday before the defense’s turn.
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