Not above the law.
Few things are worse than people using their positions of power or trust to take advantage of others. This fact is especially worse when the authority figure is a cop—somebody who has sworn to protect all members of society. Worst of all, the victims in this case were children.
Former police Sergeant Lawrence Woods of Flint, Michigan was finally sentenced after it came to light that he had sexually molested and raped numerous women and children over the course of several years during his decades-long tenure with the Flint Police Department.
Though the victims were numerous and many of them had stayed quiet for twenty years, it all started when two brave women came forward.
Lawrence B. Woods (66) joined the Flint Police Department in 1975. For 20 years, it would appear that he fulfilled his duties as a dedicated policeman, but that would all change in the following years.
Now, decades after the fact, investigators found that Woods sexually assaulted and raped anywhere from 15 to 50 women and children, mostly during a three-year period from 1996 to 2000.
Thankfully, in 2014, two women who claimed to be Woods’s victims came forward and told their stories, prompting an investigation into the former sergeant’s dark history, more than a decade after his retirement in 2002.
Aside from the sickening truth becoming apparent, one of the worst findings of the investigation was hoards of photographs Woods took of his victims across the years. Police found hundreds of photographs, some of which qualified as child pornography, stashed at no fewer than four different residences that Woods had had in the past. According to Flint Police Chief James Tolbert, the photographs were not “run of the mill stuff off the internet,” and indicated a thought-out, predatory process.
As more stories came out, the public was sickened to learn that Woods had committed various assaults in his home, at a hotel, in patrol cars, and even in the Flint police station.
More survivors came forward after the Flint PD put out is photograph and the story broke.
Grooming and Assault
One of the first women to come forward was only a child when Woods began pampering her and her family before carrying out the assault. Now a mother of three, she recounted how Woods befriended her mother and spoiled the children, then one day he began forcing himself on her, all the while acting violently protective of her.
“I feel like in the beginning, he sweetened us up,” she said. “Not only did I put my trust in him, but my mother […] as well, and they both failed me.”
According to her, Woods was feared within the police department as well. One time, she was present as the former sergeant berated a fellow officer. “That was the day I knew nobody could protect me from him.”
Though the assaults took place 20 years ago, victims are still haunted by Woods’s actions. “He has single-handedly destroyed what was left in me. I have dreams about him, the scent of his cologne, I still smell it. If I’m out in public and I smell it or if I see a car that he drove that I was forced to do stuff in, it sends me into a rage. A rage that I can’t understand,” said one victim.
Once he was caught, Woods changed his story several times. Keep reading.