Oklahoma City officer to face trial on sex charges

Daniel Holtzclaw
In this Sept. 3, 2014, file photo Daniel Holtzclaw, center, arrives for a hearing in Oklahoma City. Holtzclaw, an Oklahoma City police officer, is accused of sexually assaulting 13 women while on patrol. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma City police officer was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on dozens of charges alleging he sexually assaulted 13 women while on duty.
During the two-day preliminary hearing, prosecutors filed an additional four sex assault charges against Daniel Holtzclaw based on testimony, bringing the total number of charges to 36.
Holtzclaw has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges — which include rape, sexual battery and stalking — and an Oklahoma County judge allowed the 27-year-old to remain free on $609,000 bail. Holtzclaw, who is on leave, will return to court for a pretrial conference on Jan. 21.
A 44-year-old woman testified earlier Tuesday that Holtzclaw forced her to expose herself while seated in his patrol car on May 8, prompting two additional charges of procuring lewd exhibition. The woman, who testified she was a convicted felon, used crack cocaine and previously had been a prostitute, also said Holtzclaw forced her to perform oral sex.
Like other women who took the stand during the hearing, she said she did not want to do these things, but was frightened.
“Who am I to a police officer? I didn’t know what was going to happen next,” she said through tears.
All 13 of the alleged victims are Black; Holtzclaw is listed as Asian or Pacific Islander in court records. It’s not clear whether race played a role in the alleged crimes.
Prosecutors also modified one count of sexual battery to procuring lewd exhibition on Tuesday following testimony by a different woman who said she was made to expose herself before she was raped.
Police began investigating Holtzclaw after a woman who testified Monday reported an alleged assault on June 18, and he was arrested in August. None of the other women who have spoken at the hearing reported incidents until detectives contacted them after opening an investigation of Holtzclaw.
Holtzclaw, who had been with the department for three years, was initially accused of assaulting eight women and more charges were added when other victims came forward, some of whom said they did so after watching news reports.
The maximum charge for one count of first-degree rape alone is life in prison.

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