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Basil O'Kimosh, a former cop in Green Bay, Wisconsin, faces federal charges for exchanging sexually explicit Snapchat messages with a teenage girl he met on Facebook.
If convicted, the 39-year-old man faces 25 years to life in prison.
According to FBI Agent Sarah Deamron, O'Kimosh began interacting with the girl last January through Facebook Messenger; in April he asked if he could contact her on Snapchat. At first O'Kimosh did not know the girl was only 15, but continued to discuss sexual topics with her after learning her age, "repeatedly requesting through the Snapchat application" that they meet for sexual activity.
He also asked to meet for oral sex and, when "she" agreed, showed up at place they had arranged. "The Court finds the information set forth by the defense is not sufficient to rebut the presumption of detention and no set or combination of conditions would assure the safety of the community," wrote Sickel.
O'Kimosh was charged in a complaint filed last Friday in the U. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. While it's refreshing to see a cop get held accountable for a change, calling O'Kimosh a threat to community safety seems a bit melodramatic.
No adult, especially not one sworn to uphold the law, should be sexting with a teenager, let alone propositioning one.
But considering the kinds of things that cops in this country frequently get away with—murder, sexual assault, physical abuse, actual sex with minors—the severe concern in this case rings either a bit paranoid or a bit hollow.
The feds didn't step in, for instance, when dozens of cops were under investigation for sexting and having sex with an underage girl in Oakland, California. prosecutors have been big lately on exercising jurisdiction over both social media and sexting, and these have also been the subject of much attention in Congress lately.
Or when a Chicago cop was arrested for trafficking a 14-year-old. All of this helps suggest the decision to make this a federal matter is based more on opportunism and political agendas than the severity of O'Kimosh's crime or his threat to the public.
Or in the recent case of a Bronx officer arrestd for paying to make sex tapes with a minor. The federal government has been exercising increasing control over sex-crime-related matters of all sorts lately.
But getting the feds involved in cases like these is generally an awful idea (though O'Kimosh's position as a cop on a tribal reservation may have posed some special considerations here).
Not only does it take away from matters that be handled by local law enforcement, but it subjects those convicted to incredibly harsh prison sentences.
And that should concern you even if the plight of someone like O'Kimosh really doesn't, because pushing prison time above and beyond what's required for public safety and/or rehabilitation is how we exacerbate America's mass incarceration problem.