A detective bureau summary that revealed details, including an alleged rape victim’s name, in a case involving a former Pine Bluff police officer that was published on a Facebook page Wednesday should not have been released, according to Prosecuting Attorney S. Kyle Hunter.
Hunter said the case summary was improperly included in the paperwork when the rape charge was filed against Maurice Hopkins, 22, who was fired Feb. 26 for conduct unbecoming an officer. That file should have contained only the criminal information and probable cause affidavit.
“The name should not have been disclosed,” Hunter said. “We’ve taken steps to see that it doesn’t happen again,”
It is The Commercial’s policy not to identify the victims of rapes or sexual assaults.
Hunter said a court has ordered the case summary be removed from the file and destroyed, and the order will also cover any other case files that might include similar information.
“We’ve identified where the problem was and corrected the problem,” Hunter said.
Hopkins was placed on administrative leave on Feb. 24, a day after the alleged assault involving an adult victim occurred. Hopkins was on duty at the time of the alleged incident.
Charges were filed the following day, and Hopkins surrendered to police and was released after posting a $100,000 secured bond. He was also ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim. He had been with the department for two years and nine months.
Hopkins had 10 working days to file a notice of appeal of his termination. As of 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, the final day of the 10-day window, Hopkins had not filed an appeal.
Christa Menotti, director of the Children’s Advocacy Center and former director of the Victim Witness Division of the prosecutor’s’ office, said the release and dissemination of the alleged victim’s name could have a negative impact.
“Something like this could hamper or deter other victims from reporting,” Menotti said. “It could also compromise the case.”
As an adult, the alleged victim also could decide not to pursue the case or cooperate with prosecutors, Menotti said, “not to mention the emotional and mental anguish that Facebook posting has caused.”
Because of the information contained in the summary, Menotti also wondered how “would they (prosecutors) get a jury panel?”