OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma City police officer was charged Friday with 16 counts including first-degree rape and sexual battery after being accused of assaulting at least eight women while on patrol.
Daniel Holtzclaw, 27, also faces charges of forcible oral sodomy and indecent exposure.
Holtzclaw, a former standout football player in high school and college, was arrested Aug. 21. He remained in custody on a $5 million cash bond Friday, according to jail records.
He is accused of stopping women, who were all black and between the ages of 34 and 58, while on duty in Oklahoma City. Prosecutors allege that he raped two women and either fondled others or forced them to expose themselves, and police said there may be more victims.
Holtzclaw’s defense attorney, R. Scott Adams, said Friday that his client “denies he ever did anything inappropriate with anyone.” He declined further comment.
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.
According to the charging documents, Holtzclaw told the women that if they didn’t comply with his wishes, they would be arrested or physically harmed.
In one instance, Holtzclaw went to a woman’s residence and made her sit in her car and expose her breasts to him, according to a probable cause affidavit.
“Holtzclaw then touched her breasts barehanded. (The woman) had warrants for her arrest but he advised to work with him and he could take care of her,” the probable cause affidavit said.
Later, Holtzclaw returned to the woman’s residence and entered without permission and found the woman’s boyfriend, according to the document. Holtzclaw told the man that the home was “a lone woman’s residence,” and was insistent that the man shouldn’t be there, according to the affidavit.
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.
Holtzclaw had joined the force after graduating with 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.
Holtzclaw’s lawyers have sought to lower the bond amount, saying he’s not a flight risk or risk to the community.
The maximum charge in Oklahoma for one count of first-degree rape alone is life in prison.