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Is Undercover Police Sex Abuse?

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This image was lost some time after publication.

About 35 women protested today in front of London police headquarters, targeting undercover police officers who had sex with women in the left-wing groups they were infiltrating. "These women were not able to give informed sexual consent," said a protester.

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The phenomenon of undercover police officers using sex to get close to protesters appears to go beyond Jim Boyling, the officer who married and had children with one activist (who knew of his identity). It was first exposed in the trial of environmental activists who were accused of a plan to occupy a power station; a former undercover officer, Mark Kennedy, agreed to testify on behalf of the activists. He is now in hiding in the U.S.

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The Association of Chief Police Officers denied last week that it was at all acceptable for undercover police officers to have sex with their targets, but an anonymous former officer told The Guardianthat it was a common technique. The only thing that was forbidden was falling in love, he claimed. (Someone tell Hollywood. Oh, wait, that's already a cliche.)

"Everybody knew it was a very promiscuous lifestyle," said the former officer, who first revealed his life as an undercover agent to the Observer last year. "You cannot not be promiscuous in those groups. Otherwise you'll stand out straightaway."

Just like Mark Kennedy growing his hair out and dressing like this:

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This image was lost some time after publication.
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This is what he looks like now:

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This image was lost some time after publication.
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The anonymous undercover officer also said, ""The best way of stopping any liaison getting too heavy was to shag somebody else. It's amazing how women don't like you going to bed with someone else." That is amazing! Said one of the protesters today:

"We know women have been abused by men posing as policemen and it's becoming clear this was state-sanctioned. These women did not know they were forming a relationship with policemen. It's appalling -– and now we want the full details of the undercover officers to be made public."

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It's remarkable to contrast this with the wink-wink coverage of the sexy Russian spy — or any other "honeypot" case for that matter. Perhaps someone suggested that the men were being abused by thinking that said honeypot wanted to sleep with them for reasons that went beyond intelligence gathering. But it was far more common to simply yuk about how lucky they were, however deluded.

Undercover Police Cleared 'To Have Sex With Activists' [Guardian]
Protest Over Undercover Police Officers' Sexual Relations With Activists [Guardian]
Earlier: Undercover Spy Falls For His Target

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DISCUSSION

mustlovebooknerd-old
mustlovebooknerd

I'm not sure I really like this whole trend of "I didn't know x about the person I slept with, therefore I couldn't given consent" trend that's been happening in the media/lawsuits lately. I mean, if someone lies to you to get you to sleep with them and you believe that lie, he's a dick but you still consented. It's not morally sound, but it's not sexual assault.

If you throw yourself at an undercover police officer in a sexually charged culture such as is being described in these quotes, and he has to sleep with you to protect his cover (and because he wants to, clearly), then where is the lack of consent?