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COP RAPE CASE: TIME RUNS OUT ON 8 COUNTS

Because of the statute of limitations, a St. Croix police officer now faces 33 charges, ranging from rape to civil rights violations, instead of 41.
Eight counts of assault and oppression were dropped from the federal government’s case against Ronald Pickard Wednesday because time in which to prosecute them had expired. In August of last year a federal grand jury indicted St. Croix police officers Pickard and Dean Bates on 16 counts that include charges of raping a nightclub dancer last May 10, conspiracy, firearms possession, witness tampering and civil rights violations by assault and intimidation.
A superseding indictment in February tacked on 15 more charges and accused two additional officers, Victor Suarez and Renaldo Philbert, of assault and intimidation of witnesses.
In addition to the rape charge from last year, Pickard was charged with conspiracy to violate civil rights for actions dating back to December 1996. But according to court documents, the three-year statute of limitations has run out, eliminating three counts of assault filed between January and November 1996 and five counts of unlawfully detaining individuals filed between early 1996 and early 1997.
Federal prosecutors allege that all four men used their positions as police officers to intimidate, physically assault, harass and arrest persons without just cause.
Bates and Pickard claim the rape they are accused of committing was consensual sex.
After several postponements, trial has been scheduled for July 5 in District Court on St. Croix.

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Because of the statute of limitations, a St. Croix police officer now faces 33 charges, ranging from rape to civil rights violations, instead of 41.
Eight counts of assault and oppression were dropped from the federal government’s case against Ronald Pickard Wednesday because time in which to prosecute them had expired. In August of last year a federal grand jury indicted St. Croix police officers Pickard and Dean Bates on 16 counts that include charges of raping a nightclub dancer last May 10, conspiracy, firearms possession, witness tampering and civil rights violations by assault and intimidation.
A superseding indictment in February tacked on 15 more charges and accused two additional officers, Victor Suarez and Renaldo Philbert, of assault and intimidation of witnesses.
In addition to the rape charge from last year, Pickard was charged with conspiracy to violate civil rights for actions dating back to December 1996. But according to court documents, the three-year statute of limitations has run out, eliminating three counts of assault filed between January and November 1996 and five counts of unlawfully detaining individuals filed between early 1996 and early 1997.
Federal prosecutors allege that all four men used their positions as police officers to intimidate, physically assault, harass and arrest persons without just cause.
Bates and Pickard claim the rape they are accused of committing was consensual sex.
After several postponements, trial has been scheduled for July 5 in District Court on St. Croix.