Former NYPD cop says she was repeatedly raped by partner and co-workers while superiors told her to 'get over it'
A former NYPD cop has shared a shocking story of how she was sexually abused and the threats she received for four years of her employment, between 2014 and 2019.
Maria Mendez, a former NYPD domestic violence officer, said she was repeatedly raped by her former partner and his fellow cop friends for several years, according to an Oxygen report. In an interview with the New York Daily News, Mendez spoke of the abuse that she also detailed in her 50-page notice of claim she filed with the city comptroller's office.
Additionally, the married mother-of-four claimed her fellow officers and superiors glossed over the abusive relationship for four years. She also named a former FDNY medic-turned-firefighter who she claims sold her prescription painkillers he stole from overdose victims.
Mendez's attorney Eric Sanders is now preparing a $90 million lawsuit to be filed against the city this year. She realized the only way out of the ordeal was to quit her job, and so she put in her papers in January. “I’m relieved, but I’m ashamed I didn’t get out sooner,” she told the outlet. “Every day I blame myself," she added.
Mendez said the abuse first began after she returned from maternity leave for her fourth child. She was put on regular patrol at the 32nd Precinct as she recovered from a C-section, and was out of prescription painkillers. When her newly assigned partner furnished prescription pills, Mendez soon became addicted.
The former cop claims her partner, who cannot be named for legal reasons, soon started making sexual demands. He threatened to send a naked photo he coerced out of her to her husband if she didn't comply, and told her he would out her prescription pill addiction to their bosses if she said no.
Another friend of the partner also joined in on the alleged abuse. According to a statement from her attorney on The Sanders Firm Website, the officers "plied her with alcohol, stolen opioids (Oxycodone, Percocet) and MDMA, aka Molly, which they sold to her, then under physical and psychological threat, force her to perform deviant sexual acts including anal, oral and vaginal sex inside of department facilities, vehicles and other locations."
In the interview, Mendez also alleged that her colleagues and superiors did not help her out. She had privately confided to a female officer when the cop was initially demanding a naked photo of hers but said she was told to "get over it."
She would hear those three words again soon after. Mendez eventually caved in and gave her partner a photo of herself in lingerie. When she told him he had "ruined" her after forcing the picture out of her, he "punched me in the side and said, Get over it.”
A number of her superiors, many of whom women, allegedly did not help her at all. "(One woman lieutenant) told me it was all my fault," Mendez said. "She didn’t care."
Mendez then decided to take action herself. She started to collect evidence after some time, taking pictures of her bruises, separating clothes she had worn during the abuse, and using her credit card to pay for hotel accommodations.
On January 18, Mendez was beaten by her partner until she was unconscious at a hotel in Queens. It was the final straw before the embattled officer sought help. She immediately called her husband for help, resigned the following day, and started working on filing a lawsuit.
Meanwhile, the NYPD said formal complaints had not been filed against the officers named in the notice of claim and all three were still on active duty.
Speaking to Daily News, an NYPD spokeswoman said the investigation never commenced as Mendez didn't file a complaint. Now, the department was reviewing her notice of claim before initiating any "appropriate action."
Nonetheless, Mendez hopes her experience and the subsequent legal battle will inspire women cops to reach out for help. "I don’t know if [women] realize how badly they are getting abused or if they are so numb to it that they just think it’s normal to be treated this way," Mendez said in the interview. "I really believe that if they see how they are getting mistreated and opened their eyes to it, they would put a stop to it."