PHILIPSBURG--The Judge in the Court of First Instance was confronted with a man on Thursday morning who was charged with groping a policewoman during Rio Production’s Lighted Parade on July 5. The man was sentenced to two days already spent in pre-trial detention. The Prosecutor had asked for 60 hours of community service.
Suspect Alexis Noel Mauricia (25), who said he was working that night providing drinks to Rio’s revellers to earn some extra money, vehemently denied the charges.
The man, who was arrested on the spot, said it was very crowded during the parade which was winding its way through narrow Front Street near Sea Palace Resort.
He said he had been in a hurry to get ice for the thirsty revellers and told the judge he may have brushed past the female officer or may have pushed her away, but denied he had touched her abdomen and buttocks in the process.
“It does not make any sense to do that with a trained officer,” the defendant said, adding that he felt he was being treated unfairly. “I am really frustrated with the allegations without a reason. I was not treated right,” he said.
The female officer filed an official complaint in which she stated that she was grabbed in a sexual manner, which had made her feel disrespected and insulted.
A fellow officer who was on duty with her that night and who had witnessed the incident supported his colleague’s statement.
Attorney Geert Hatzmann, who said he is no fan of Carnival with its “crowded, worked-up and alcohol-induced atmosphere,” pleaded for an acquittal. He said his client had not done anything wrong and that the police officers had made a wrong assessment of the situation in making the arrest.
The court considered the charges proven, based on the detailed police statement. “You should not touch women without their consent and undermine a police officer’s authority,” the judge told the suspect. The defendant did not receive any additional punishment as he had already been locked up for two days.