Kentucky State Police apologize for controversial tweet about rape

LOUISVILLE — Kentucky State Police apologized Sunday after receiving backlash for a tweet that joked about prison rape in an attempt to deter drunken drivers.

The state police posted the statement Sunday night to its Twitter account, which has more than 50,000 followers.

"Making light of sexual assault is never acceptable, and we apologize for the distress this tweet caused, particularly to the victims of these heinous crimes," the statement said. "(Kentucky State Police) is committed to protecting against sexual assault and fighting for justice for victims."

The statement said the tweet came from one employee and does not represent all state police.

The original tweet, which was was deleted shortly after the (Louisville) Courier Journal called for a comment about it, was tied to the Super Bowl.

"Enjoy watching Rob Gronkowski (TE) play but if you drink &a drive ... your tight end may end up in jail!" the tweet said.

A screenshot of a tweet from Kentucky State Police makes a joke about rape in connection with the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018.
Caption
A screenshot of a tweet from Kentucky State Police makes a joke about rape in connection with the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018.

Attached was a slow-motion gif of a bar of soap hitting the ground.

The implication is "don't drop the soap," a crude reference to an inmate making himself vulnerable to anal rape.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2011-2012, "The estimated number of prison and jail inmates experiencing sexual victimization totaled 80,600 (or 4.0 percent of all prison inmates and 3.2 percent of jail inmates nationwide)." The survey, "Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates," was conducted as part of the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003.

According to the same survey, an estimated 29,300 prisoners in state or federal prisons reported an incident involving another inmate, while an estimated 11,900 jail inmates reported an incident involving another inmate.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes responded to the original tweet on Twitter.

"Rape & sexual assault are not joking matters. Citizens expect & deserve better of law enforcement," Grimes said in the tweet. "An apology to victims everywhere from @kystatepolice is needed."

Thomas Novelly contributed to this article.