created by: Conviction | Jul 19, 2008

Creston, IA

2,041 votes

Are two former Creston Cops guilty?

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381 - 388 of 388 Comments Last updated Jun 22, 2012
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Creston

Libertyville, IL

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#395
Mar 15, 2009
 
Everyone knows they did some good...but they also did illegal things. So the fact is..I am glad they he helped you but he chose to hurt others. Mainly his kids! They take presidence over all.
Creston

Libertyville, IL

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#396
Mar 15, 2009
 

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Des Moines Register today!
Really Good article
Almost a year after she was raped by the then-assistant police chief while his boss looked on, a Creston country-club bartender got justice. The second-degree sexual-assault convictions of former Chief James Christensen and former Assistant Chief John Sickels Thursday are a particular victory considering how stacked the deck was against the victim.

"Just think about it - the top two law-enforcement officers," said Vickie Hodge, a rape-victim advocate who sat through the trial and said she saw a succession of law-enforcement officials turn out to support the defendants instead of the victim. Among them were another former Creston police chief, Bill Heatherington, and current Union County Sheriff Rick Piel. Christensen and Sickels were later removed from the force, but Piel helped Christensen stage a fake exit from court last June.


How could this victim have confidence in the impartiality of law enforcement when the sheriff chose to help an accused rapist escape the media?

In the trial, the defense predictably used the victim's delay in reporting, and failure to seek medical treatment, to cast doubt on her credibility. She said she was afraid. And can you blame her, when her accused rapists were at the time the highest-ranking police officials in town? Not only that, but when she later asked Christensen to file a report, in a secretly recorded conversation, he refused.

As director of the Rural Iowa Crisis Center in Creston, Hodge contacted the Iowa State Police's Department of Criminal Investigation on the woman's behalf, understanding her fear of dealing with local officers. Hodge said the Creston Police Department has long treated her agency as an adversary instead of an ally, noting, "There seems to be an attitude, if you question what happened or what's done, somehow you're against them."

"I have never gotten the sense from the Creston Police Department that there was any respect for women," Hodge said. Many of her clients have been reluctant to report sexual assault to Creston police, she added.

Other police agencies invite advocates to train police. But according to Hodge, when her center in 2005 got federal money to train law-enforcement officials, out of 14 police agencies in six counties, only Creston didn't come. It's no surprise, then, that Christensen claimed not to know someone alleging rape has a right to file a report.

Hodge said the police department has seldom followed through on an agreement to forward the names of alleged victims when arrests are made, so she can offer them services. And she said the department was late to establish a standardized policy on handling domestic violence.

The new Creston police chief, Paul Ver Meer, couldn't be reached for comment, but Hodge is hopeful things will change under him.

Filing rape charges always takes courage because of the tactics used to discredit the accuser. Sometimes press reports contribute to the appearance of bias. On Friday, Beth Barnhill, executive director of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, wrote to KCCI News complaining that news of the verdict was followed by "a lengthy commentary by your reporter who went on and on about the grief and anguish of the former officers' families," with no acknowledgment of the victim's feelings.

The DCI deserves kudos for its handling of the case, as do the jurors for their independence. Now the new Creston police chief needs to take a hard look at fixing the good-old-boy culture his predecessors evidently fostered. He could start by reaching out to the victims' advocates.
falcon

Allerton, IA

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#397
Mar 16, 2009
 

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Thanks to "THE VICTIM'S" Courage these two are right where they belong! And I do not know any of the individuals but that woman deserves RESPECT for putting these two away. The DCI done a wonderful thing by helping her. Rape is rape. Justice was served!
Niether Friend or Foe

United States

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#398
Mar 16, 2009
 

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To post # 396 where did you see that artical as I can not find it. What was the headline??????
I could not believe whah I was Reading, I thought we had come futher in the crimes against women, but it does not sound like Creston has moved forward on this issue at all, and to have a police force who does not care, what does that tell you??????????
oh come on

Creston, IA

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#399
Mar 16, 2009
 
Niether Friend or Foe wrote:
To post # 396 where did you see that artical as I can not find it. What was the headline??????
I could not believe whah I was Reading, I thought we had come futher in the crimes against women, but it does not sound like Creston has moved forward on this issue at all, and to have a police force who does not care, what does that tell you??????????
the article was written by that Reka Bashu?(sp) don't know what section it was in but it was on the right page of the paper at the column next to the fold. hope that helps
Off Limits

United States

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#400
Mar 16, 2009
 
oh come on wrote:
<quoted text>
the article was written by that Reka Bashu?(sp) don't know what section it was in but it was on the right page of the paper at the column next to the fold. hope that helps
Thanks I did find it.
Creston

Libertyville, IL

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#401
Mar 16, 2009
 
Niether Friend or Foe wrote:
To post # 396 where did you see that artical as I can not find it. What was the headline??????
I could not believe whah I was Reading, I thought we had come futher in the crimes against women, but it does not sound like Creston has moved forward on this issue at all, and to have a police force who does not care, what does that tell you??????????
Saturday Des Moines register
Opinion page
C-Town Native

Des Moines, IA

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#402
Jun 22, 2012
 
I cannot speak to the charactor of the former police officers of the Creston Police Department. If they did do the things that they were accused of, then shame on them. However, as a youth in Creston I was a impacted by these men. I was pulled over, numourous times, by the police. I was caught doing less than respectable things with my friends. However, the officers of the CPD showed me respect and gave me a second chance. Specifically, these officers, Jamie C. being one of them, allowed my record to remain clean so that I could be accepted into the U.S. Army. I served my country honorably for many years, in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom along with many others, and am now a college graduate and an upstanding member of my community. While I joined the military on my own accord, I cannot see any possible path to my current success without the kindness shown to me by Jamie C. and many of the current and former police force. So lets remember that it is easy to ignore any good that someone has done because of the bad things that they have done, and if this is the case, my military service means nothing because of my indiscretions in high school.

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