In the summer of 2014, Oklahoma saw a rash of law enforcement officers accused of sexually assaulting women while on duty:
- Former Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Eric Roberts was accused of raping or sexually assaulting two women near Sapulpa. His case is still pending.
- Former Tulsa County Sheriff's Deputy Gerald Nuckolls was accused of exposing himself to a woman and pulling down her top. He was convicted of one count each of sexual battery and indecent exposure. In November, a Tulsa County judge sentenced him to 8 years in prison.
- Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, the most notable case, was accused of being a serial rapist. He was convicted late last year of 18 felony counts involving the rape and sexual assault of 8 women, and he was sentenced to 263 years in prison.
While Oklahoma certainly saw several cases of abuse of power in a short span of time, our state is not the only one struggling with keeping abusive and predatory law officers in check.
In Alabama this week, a 23-year-old Montgomery police officer was arrested after engaging in on-duty sex with a person who was "incapable of consent by reason of being mentally defective." According to reports, Officer Morris Williams, Jr., was arrested on Tuesday and charged with second degree sodomy after an incident at a residence the afternoon before.
Reports say there is no evidence that the officer and his accuser knew each other prior to the incident, which occurred sometime between noon and 2:30 p.m. on Monday. An arrest affidavit accuses Williams of engaging in "deviate [sic] sexual intercourse" with a "mentally defective" woman. Although Williams was on duty at the time of the alleged assault, it is not clear whether he was responding to a 9-1-1 call at the residence or whether the was initially there for some other reason.
The officer is being held in isolation on a $30,000 cash bond.
There has been an incredible outcry lately against law enforcement officers who abuse their power and authority and victimize the people they are sworn to protect. When an officer breaks the law in such a way, it builds mistrust and makes the job more difficult for those who take their responsibilities to serve and protect seriously.
Image credit: Scott Davidson