Cop Travis Jackson's 20 Day Suspension: Sex With Mentally Challenged Woman?

We recently posted about ten recent under-the-radar Denver police resignations or discipline cases as shared in a report from Denver's Office of the Independent Monitor.

Officer Travis Jackson's situation was less low-key, having gotten a modicum of press coverage back in July 2014, when he was placed on administrative leave in light of a sex assault investigation, and again this past April, when a twenty-day suspension against him was upheld.

This week, the Denver Civil Service Commission left that suspension in place — but in doing so, it also revealed new details about the incident at the root of his troubles.

Jackson reportedly was accused of sexually assaulting a mentally challenged homeless woman he picked up as part of his official duties — and while commissioners appear to believe that sexual acts took place (perhaps consensual, perhaps not), he was not charged with having sex on duty, which would have resulted in his likely firing.

At about 2 a.m. on July 4, 2014, according to 7News, Jackson was dispatched to a homeless woman's shelter on a report that someone had brought alcohol into the facility.

The woman in question, who is described by Fox31 as having been drunk at the time, is said to have told Jackson she had no place to stay. So he offered to transport her to a motel, then took himself out of service in order to do so.

The Manager of Safety's Office calculates that Jackson was with the woman for an hour and forty minutes as they drove to a total of five hotels before securing a room for her at the Ramada Plaza Denver Central.

Jackson's GPS showed that he was at the Ramada for 42 minutes, the Manager of Safety's Office notes, but there's dispute about how long he was in the woman's room. He said five minutes while she claimed twenty, 7News points out.

Whatever the case, the woman subsequently filed a complaint accusing Jackson of sexually assaulting her. He denied having sex with her at all.

The matter was put before the Denver District Attorney's Office, which declined to prosecute on the grounds that the sex appeared to be consensual.

Likewise, Jackson wasn't punished departmentally for a sex act. Instead, he was suspended for driving his patrol car outside Denver city limits without permission and failing to notify dispatch about his hotel tour with the woman.

The suspension took place between December 27, 2014 and January 15, 2015. However, Jackson appealed the decision. He was rejected on both occasions, with the Civil Service Commission chastising his behavior.

Here's an excerpt from the commission's report, as shared by Fox31:
There is no conclusive evidence in the record that the allegations are false. Officer Jackson, in his brief, appears to find vindication in the fact that the District Attorney refused to prosecute him criminally. The fact that Officer Jackson might have taken himself out of service for almost one hundred minutes and during that time, while still on the job and in uniform, engaged in sexual activity with a vulnerable, drunken, mentally challenged female, is hardly grounds for Officer Jackson taking the victory lap to which he seems to believe he is entitled. Officer Jackson appears to us to be fortunate that the Department did not charge him with having sexual relations on duty, which, as we know from Vigil v. Southard, 14CSC 03A, is grounds for discharge.
As a result of the commission's actions, Jackson will not be reimbursed for the pay he forfeited due to the suspension, but he still has his job — something that may not please police critics.

Here's the aforementioned Fox31 report.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts