by Andrew Emett
November 21, 2014
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Officer Holtzclaw used his position to prey on women. What happened to protect and serve?
An Oklahoma City police officer has been charged with 35 felony counts including rape, sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy, indecent exposure, and burglary. Since his arrest, 13 women have come forward accusing Officer Daniel Holtzclaw of abusing his authority to sexually assault them including a 17-year-old girl whose DNA was found inside the fly of Holtzclaw’s police uniform pants.
According to investigators, Officer Holtzclaw targeted low-income women with criminal records while on duty. But around 2 am on June 18, Holtzclaw pulled over a 57-year-old middle class grandmother with no criminal history and forced her to perform oral sex.
After turning off his patrol car computer and without notifying his station, Holtzclaw pulled over the 57-year-old grandmother referred to in court documents as J.L. Because J.L. could not roll down her broken driver’s side window, Holtzclaw ordered her into the backseat of his patrol car. Instead of requesting a female officer to search J.L., Holtzclaw allegedly forced her to expose her breasts and pull down her pants. As Holtzclaw exposed his penis, J.L. pleaded, “Please don’t do this. You’re not supposed to do this!”
Holtzclaw allegedly forced J.L. to perform oral sex, but she was too frightened. After Holtzclaw released her, J.L. drove to her daughter’s house in tears. J.L. and her daughter called the police station, but no one answered. After they drove down to the police station to report the assault in person, J.L. was taken to the hospital to receive a medical forensic exam.
In the hospital, J.L. met Detective Kim Davis of the Oklahoma City Police Sex Crimes Unit who connected J.L.’s report to a similar unsolved assault report involving an officer in May. A woman referred to as T.M. reported an unidentified police officer had sexually assaulted her on May 8. An admitted drug user and prostitute, T.M. had been detained in the backseat of Holtzclaw’s patrol car when he found a crack pipe in her purse.
Holtzclaw allegedly forced T.M. to perform oral sex in exchange for her freedom. Instead of driving her home, Holtzclaw drove in the opposite direction towards an open field where T.M. panicked and began to scream. Immediately changing his mind, Holtzclaw dropped her off at a different location. After T.M. showed Detective Rocky Gregory the route they took, Gregory compared her directions to the GPS recorder in Holtzclaw’s patrol car. It was an exact match.
After accessing the list of names that Holtzclaw had run through the department’s databases, the Sex Crimes Unit interviewed the women on that list and discovered six more women who accused Holtzclaw of sexually assaulting them. The women had been afraid to report the crimes because most of them had a history of drug abuse or prostitution. According to the Sex Crimes Unit, Holtzclaw allegedly used one database to check for existing warrants and the other database to see if any of his victims had reported him.
Holtzclaw was arrested on August 21 and originally charged with two counts of first-degree rape, four counts of sexual battery, four counts of forcible oral sodomy, four counts of indecent exposure, one count of first-degree burglary, and one count of stalking. As more victims come forward, the number of felony counts against Holtzclaw has reached 35 with a misdemeanor charge of stalking. Holtzclaw currently faces six counts of first-degree rape.
Testifying in court this week, Holtzclaw’s alleged victims recounted incidents of rape and sexual assault under color of authority. Referred to as A.G., a 17-year-old girl testified that Holtzclaw had offered her a ride home. After threatening to arrest A.G. for outstanding warrants, Holtzclaw allegedly raped her. When asked why she didn’t report the incident, A.G. responded, “What am I going to do? Called the cops? He was the cops.”
A.G. moved out of state after the incident. On June 18, Holtzclaw’s police uniform was tested for DNA evidence. The DNA inside the fly of his pants matched the 17-year-old’s DNA.
Another victim referred to as S.H. testified on Monday that Holtzclaw had groped her and forced her to perform oral sex while she had been hospitalized for a PCP overdose. Holtzclaw had been assigned to watch her and promised to drop the charges against her. Two weeks later, Holtzclaw sent her a friend request on Facebook and told S.H. that he wanted to see her again. The messages included Holtzclaw’s phone number.
After sharing her story publicly, Syrita Bowen testified that Holtzclaw had offered to drive her home on May 21, but forced her to perform oral sex instead. Holtzclaw ordered her out of the car and allegedly raped Bowen without a condom. He reportedly told her, “I will see you again.”
Holtzclaw has been placed on paid administrative leave. He has pled not guilty and remains under house arrest at his parents’ home. His next court date is scheduled for January 21, 2015.
“I’m still living in fear, just a little bit, but it gets better day by day,” admitted J.L., the 57-year-old grandmother. “I wasn’t raped, but I may as well have been. I was raped in my mind! I go through it every day!”