published Friday, August 29th, 2014

Prosecutors charge Oklahoma officer with rape



Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw stands next to his vehicle in this 2012 file photo.
Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw stands next to his vehicle in this 2012 file photo.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma City police officer was charged Friday with 16 counts including rape and sexual battery after he was accused of assaulting at least seven women while on patrol.

Daniel Holtzclaw, 27, also faces charges of forcible oral sodomy and indecent exposure. Police arrested Holtzclaw on Aug. 21.

Holtzclaw, a former standout football player in high school and college, is accused of stopping women, who were all black and between the ages of 34 and 58, while on duty in Oklahoma City. Investigators allege that he raped one woman and either fondled others or forced them to expose themselves, and police said there may be more victims.

Holtclaw's defense attorney, R. Scott Adams, has said his client was shocked and devastated by the allegations and denies them. He did not immediately return a message seeking comment Friday.

The investigation began when police said a woman complained that Holtzclaw had sexually assaulted her during a traffic stop on a boulevard about two miles north of the state Capitol.

The police department placed Holtzclaw on leave shortly after the allegations emerged in June, Chief Bill Citty said when announcing the arrests.

"We started the investigation and we started looking at traffic stops he had made throughout the previous months to try to identify and initiate contact with females that we knew he had stopped during that period of time ... to see if they had been sexually assaulted," Citty said.

Officers said they identified seven victims and eight incidents.

Holtzclaw had joined the force after parlaying his high school and college football career into a criminal justice degree from Eastern Michigan University. He tried out for the Detroit Lions after he was not taken in the NFL draft, but was cut from the team.

He had been with the police department for three years and began street patrols about 18 months ago.

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