Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Ex-Oklahoma cop sentenced for rape had earlier victim -attorney

by Reuters 
A former Oklahoma City police officer convicted of raping several women while he was on duty assaulted another woman who alerted police seven months before the first reported incident, an attorney for several victims said on Monday.

The city police knew of a complaint filed on Nov. 5, 2013 by Demetria Campbell against officer Daniel Holtzclaw months before other accusations began to emerge, said attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents seven of Holtzclaw's victims in a civil lawsuit amended on Friday to include Campbell's case. The original lawsuit was filed on Feb. 25.

An investigation of Holtzclaw was not opened at that point, according to the lawsuit.

Seven months after Campbell complained, Jannie Ligons came forward on June 18, 2014, after being sexually assaulted by Holtzclaw. Police then opened an investigation of Holtzclaw.

"Demetria Campbell was the first victim of this serial rapist with a badge," Crump said at a news conference on Monday. "Oklahoma City knew exactly who he was and did nothing when she came forward. If they had done something about Demetria Campbell's complaint, all these other rapes could have been avoided."

The lawsuit was filed against Holtzclaw, the city, Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty, Holtzclaw's supervisor, officer Brian Bennett, and Detective Rocky Gregory.

City officials declined to comment. Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In December, an Oklahoma City jury found Holtzclaw, 29, guilty on 18 of 36 charges of sexual assault. Thirteen women testified against the former officer, describing encounters in which Holtzclaw coerced or forced his victims to perform sexual acts on him. He was sentenced to 263 years in prison, the maximum allowable, in January.

Prosecutors said Holtzclaw sexually abused multiple women between December 2013 and June 2014, targeting victims from a poorer, mostly African-American area of Oklahoma City.

Holtzclaw unlawfully detained Campbell in November 2013 while she was in Oklahoma City visiting her terminally ill daughter at a hospital, according to the lawsuit.

The officer slammed her into a brick wall at the restaurant where she had gone to buy food and rubbed his genitals against her before handcuffing her and driving around the city with her in his car, according to the lawsuit. He released her after she urinated on herself, according to the lawsuit.

Campbell returned to the hospital, where an officer took her complaint against Holtzclaw, but she was never contacted again by the police, according to the lawsuit. In addition, Holtzclaw was not placed on desk duty and investigated after that complaint, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also alleges the Oklahoma City Police Department failed to properly test, train and monitor Holtzclaw.



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