A Baltimore County police officer has been convicted of raping a 22-year-old woman in October 2017, the county state’s attorney’s office said.
Baltimore County Police Officer Anthony Westerman, 27, was convicted late Friday of two counts of second-degree rape and other offenses from the 2017 incident, as well as second-degree assault from a 2019 incident, the state’s attorney’s office said.
Detectives began investigating Westerman in 2019 after being notified of at least three women who allegedly were assaulted, police said previously.
On Oct. 4, 2017, Westerman was at a bar in White Marsh, according to charging documents. A woman passed out in her car, and had planned to wait there until she was sober enough to drive before Westerman and her female friend knocked on her car window. Westerman told the woman he would arrange an Uber to take the two women back to the second woman’s home, the charging documents said.
But Westerman instead had the driver take all three back to his home, where he allegedly raped one of the women, according to the document. The 22-year-old woman told her friend about the incident and the two immediately left, police said.
Prosecutors said Westerman also was convicted of second-degree assault for an incident involving another 22-year-old victim. In that incident, the woman told police she was at a birthday party in Middle River with Westerman when he grabbed her and tried to kiss her multiple times until she left, according to the charging documents.
Westerman’s attorney Brian Thompson said Monday that he is “very disappointed” with the verdict of the bench trial. He said there was no evidence of coercion, and that the case came down to his client’s word against the women’s word, but that the department was pressured to bring charges against Westerman.
Thompson noted that the investigation into his client came as the department faced increased scrutiny for how it investigated rape cases.
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Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. previously formed a special task force to evaluate how the department conducted such investigations, and it concluded that law enforcement rarely tested evidence from rape cases or filed charges in cases where victims delayed reporting. It also found police still considered whether victims physically resisted when pursuing investigations, even though a recent law clarified that such resistance is not necessary to prove a crime was committed.
“This investigation was a conflict of interest for Baltimore County,” Thompson said. “To do anything else, especially in this climate, when you are being sued, they would have been accused of being sweeping it under the rug.”
Additionally, Thompson said Monday, a detective on the case admitted in court that there was a conflict of interest for the police to investigate themselves.
Thompson said the case has “procedural and evidentiary irregularities,” and that he intends to file a motion for a new trial and appeal.
Westerman joined the police department in 2013 and was a police officer at the time of each of the incidents, prosecutors said. He is suspended without pay, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
Police spokeswoman Joy Stewart said Monday night that Westerman remains suspended without pay but did not comment further.
Westerman is being held on home detention until sentencing, which is scheduled for Nov. 19.