Lewiston, ID – An Idaho sheriff has issued an apology for a meme posted on his social media account after criticism that he was mocking sexual assault victims who don’t immediately report the crimes against them.
“My -ss was groped in 1886 and I waited till now to tell about it,” the meme read, along with a photo of a very elderly woman dressed in lingerie, The Lewiston Tribune reported.
Nez Perce County Sheriff Joe Rodriguez denied having posted the message.
He explained that his wife, Julie Borland Rodriguez, posted it on his account from their shared home computer under the mistaken belief that she was on her own profile.
“She believed she was on her Facebook page,” Sheriff Rodriguez told the Lewiston Tribune. “I don’t go on Facebook very much for this very reason.”
The sheriff noted that he does not concur with the meme’s message, which he deleted as soon as he became aware that it existed.
“I don’t take anything of this sort lightly. I don’t care if it was 30 years ago,” he said. “It takes a lot for someone to come forward and say ‘This happened to me.’”
Sheriff Rodriguez was heavily criticized as news of the meme spread, and some people even demanded that he resign.
Julie said she has not been following the news closely, and claimed she was unaware that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had been accused of sexually assaulting Christine Blasey Ford during a high school party in 1982.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegation.
Julie apologized for posting the meme, and said she was especially sorry for hurting the reputation of her husband.
“It was just a bad choice for me,” Julie explained through sobs, according to The Lewiston Tribune. “I guess I didn’t think about it before I posted it.”
Despite the setback, Sheriff Rodriguez reiterated that his agency takes sexual assault allegations seriously, and that he understands victims often struggle to overcome the fears and social stigmas associated with making the decision to report sexual violence.
The department has deputies who have been trained to work with assault victims, and the prosecutor’s office has victim advocates to assist victims throughout the court process, he said.