Ex-officer in Hawaii sentenced for making man lick urinal

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Hawaii News Now

FILE - This undated file photo from video provided by Hawaii News Now shows Honolulu police officer John Rabago outside federal court in Honolulu. A former Honolulu police officer has been sentenced to four years in prison for forcing a homeless man to lick a public urinal. A U.S. judge sentenced a former Honolulu police officer Wednesday, July 15, 2020, to four years in prison for forcing a homeless man to lick a public urinal, telling him to imagine someone doing that to his two young daughters. Rabago offered apologies to the victim. (Hawaii News Now via AP, File)

HONOLULU – A U.S. judge sentenced a former Honolulu police officer Wednesday to four years in prison for forcing a homeless man to lick a public urinal, telling him to imagine someone doing that to his two young daughters.

The homeless man was just as defenseless and powerless as the children of defendant John Rabago, U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi said.

“You took from him his only possession: his dignity as a human being,” Kobayashi said.

Rabago had taken an oath as a police officer to protect and defend but instead took advantage of someone poor and homeless, she said.

Rabago, 44, and another officer had responded to a nuisance complaint in 2018 when they found the homeless man in a stall in a public restroom.

Rabago threatened to beat the man and stuff his face in a toilet if he didn't lick the urinal, Kobayashi said. He then grabbed the man's shoulder, held him down and stepped on his legs to keep him on his knees until he licked the urinal, the judge said.

Rabago later told the other officer to delete text messages about the incident, Kobayashi said.

“I’m here to judge you on the worst thing you’ve done in your life,” Kobayashi said. However, she noted that he should not let the act define his future.