Her 5-year-old son now fears the worst when he sees a police officer. The mother gently reminds him: No, the officer isn’t bad -- he’s a good guy.
But she knows how the boy feels.
“I’m very disgusted. I don’t know who to trust. When I see cops, I’m scared. My son sees a cop at a grocery store, and he says, ‘Mom, look. That’s a bad cop.’ I say, no, honey. But what am I supposed to do? He’s already had a bad experience,” she says.
So has she.
The woman who revealed Las Vegas police officer Solomon Coleman’s habit of sexually intimidating and harassing women he met on duty almost didn’t come forward.
What if the detectives -- from Coleman’s own department -- didn’t believe what happened to her? What if Coleman kept his job, or sought retribution?
But months after giving her statement to investigators, on Wednesday the woman learned that Coleman had been suspended by his department and charged by prosecutors.
And there were other victims.
“In a way that’s what I was hoping, because I’ve never been in this situation before,” said the woman. “I never wanted to be involved in anything like this, and it’s a big sense of relief knowing that I’m not alone. I’m not the only one he’s done this stuff to.”
Coleman, 28, a five-year veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department, was charged with oppression under color of law, gross lewdness and taking pictures of a person’s private area, according to court documents filed Friday in Las Vegas Justice Court.
He’s not in custody but has been ordered to appear in court Thursday morning.
Prosecutors charged Coleman for encounters the officer had with two women, but police identified at least five women the officer met while wearing his badge.
Police said he developed a pattern of starting “relationships” with women he met at crime scenes and on routine calls, using his authority as an officer to gain their trust.
Coleman’s misdeeds were uncovered in June after the first woman complained about his behavior.
The Review-Journal interviewed her at her home Wednesday. The newspaper does not publish the names of alleged sex crime victims.
She told the Review-Journal that Coleman stayed at her home after other officers took her boyfriend to jail following a domestic disturbance.
A female officer had already taken photos of bruises on her neck, arms and back, but Coleman said he also needed to “check for bruises on her ass,” according to court documents.
The woman told Coleman she didn’t have bruises there, but he “insisted on checking anyway,” the report said. She said Coleman pulled down her shorts and underwear to her knees and asked her to bend over on the bed.
The woman relayed the same story on Wednesday. She said Coleman stayed behind to give her paperwork, but then followed her into her bedroom to help her look for missing house keys.
She hadn’t asked for help, but didn’t know how to handle the situation as the officer started complimenting her body. At one point she wondered if she was being targeted in a strange prostitution sting.
“I’m not prostitute, but he started treating me like one,” she said. “I didn’t know what kind of situation I was in.”
She felt forced to comply when Coleman pulled down her pants. She says he took pictures with a red cell phone, although the police report doesn’t say if photos were found on his phone.
“He’s a police officer. I didn’t feel like I had the right to say, ‘Hey, you get out of my house right now.’ What if he arrested me for that, or something? I have a son at home.”
At one point, her son walked into the bedroom before being ushered out by the officer.
“That’s the worst thing anybody can do to me. To hell with me, but if my frickin’ son witnessed this? Now I have to deal with my son being insecure and asking questions about police officers,” she said.
Coleman later exposed himself to her in her bathroom and asked “if she liked it” and “if it was big,” she said.
When the officer came back after his shift, the woman saw him through the blinds but wouldn’t open the door, she said.
She wondered if prosecutors could have been more harsh when they charged Coleman.
“I don’t know if you have to intercourse for it to be sexual assault, but it felt like one,” she said. “The shocking thing was how comfortable he was with what he was doing. He wasn’t scared, he wasn’t nervous. He was just very comfortable.”
She complained to police the following day. Investigators found that Coleman left the woman’s home 36 minutes after the officers, which seemed to corroborate her story.
Detectives then looked into his past, and dug through his cell phone records and patrol logs. They quickly found another victim.
Coleman had used his phone to record more than 20 minutes of a personal sex video from another woman’s cell phone, which police had taken during an arrest.
Police matched Coleman’s patrol logs with the date the video was recorded and determined he’d taken the phone from a California woman during a traffic stop in June 2012. The video had been on Coleman’s phone for a year when detectives found it.
Detectives found three other women who began relationships with Coleman after meeting him on the job. Coleman has not been charged with any crimes relating to those relationships, though he could face internal discipline.
This isn’t the first Las Vegas police officer recently arrested on accusations of on-duty sexual misconduct.
In 2011 John Norman compelled two women to show their breasts after he pulled them over. He also was accused of fondling one of the women.
Allegations of misconduct were made against Norman by two other women, but no charges were filed in those cases.
Norman was initially charged with eight counts, but prosecutors dropped six charges as part of his guilty plea agreement. In January he was sentenced to two years in jail.
Coleman’s accuser said she followed Norman’s case in the news. She says she doesn’t hate all cops, but is having a tough time managing her emotions.
She said she needs counseling. She also wants to move to another part of the valley, but isn’t sure she can afford to relocate.
But she’s afraid when patrol cars cruise through her neighborhood.
“Cops are supposed to be there to keep you safe. That’s their job,” she said. “When something like this happens you don’t know what to think. I have nothing against any other officers, but it’s just hard.”
Contact reporter Mike Blasky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0283. Follow @blasky on Twitter.