Oklahoma City Police Officer to stand trial for sexual assaults of 13 women
Judge finds probable cause after two-day preliminary hearing
(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.) - - An Oklahoma City Police officer will stand trial for the sexual assaults of 13 women. Judge D. Fred Doak made that decision after a two-day court hearing at the Oklahoma County Courthouse.
The officer was charged with 32 crimes before the court hearing began Monday morning, but by the conclusion Tuesday afternoon he faced with four more. The charges include multiple counts of rape, sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy, stalking and other crimes. The additional charges were added after testimony from two victims.
All 13 women accusing Officer Holtzclaw of sexually assaulting them took the stand. Holtzclaw chewed gum as he stared down each of the victims in the courtroom.
The first victim "SH" testified she is a mom and wife, she is also a convicted felon. On December 20, 2013, she was at an apartment complex on northeast side of Oklahoma City. She was smoking PCP with her cousin in a truck when two officers approached. She said the PCP spilled on her skin and she had a strong reaction. She was taken to the hospital. Officer Holtzclaw was assigned to watch her. She recounted she was alone with him for several hours and handcuffed to the hospital bed. She claimed he squeezed her breast, exposed his genital area and forced her to perform oral sex. "I couldn't believe it because he was the police," she told the court. "SH" said Holtzclaw promised the charges against her would be dropped in a month. According to court testimony, Holtzclaw friend requested "SH" two weeks later on Facebook. He told her he wanted to see her again. The messages included his phone number. On January 9, 2014, he allegedly showed up at her house and pressured her to have sex with him in his car. He exposed himself again but she refused to comply with his demands because her children were inside her home. "SH" told her mom and twin sister about what happened. She told the court she did not tell anyone else because, "I didn’t think no one would believe me. All police work together. I was scared."
The second victim to take the stand "CR" reported that on March 14, 2014, she was walking alone when Holtzclaw stopped her. He asked if she was on drugs. She testified she did not feel free to leave. He kept asking if she "had anything on her." She raised shirt and exposed her breast to show him didn’t have drugs. She said she didn’t tell anyone after it happened and tried not to think about it.
The third victim "CJ" said that on May 26, 2014, she was walking near NE 16th and Jordan when Holtzclaw stopped her and detained her. She reported he put his hands under her shirt and bra felt her breasts while standing behind her. She told him "you are not supposed to be doing that sir." She claimed the officer then put his hands down her pants while still standing behind her. When he didn't find any drugs, he let her go. "CJ" testified she called her roommate and immediately told him what happened. He asked if she thought about calling the police. "CJ" told him: "it is my word against his." She told the court "I left it alone and prayed that I never met him again." On cross examination the defense pointed out the victim had seven felony convictions and is currently facing charges for felon in possession of firearm.
The fourth victim "TB" recalled that on February 27, 2014, she was leaving her home near NE 15th and Jordan with her two daughters and a friend. Two officers approached their car and told them to get out. She claimed Holtzclaw took her to his patrol car. He asked if she had drugs on her. She lifted her shirt to show him she didn't. He touched her breasts and then let her go. On March 25, 2014, "TB" said Holtzclaw was waiting on porch when she got home. He put her in his squad car. She said she had to expose herself to get out of the car. She testified he asked if she had drugs in her pants. She pulled them out so he could see. She said she did not call police because she didn’t think anyone would believe her. She reported he came to her house again in April but she refused to open the door.
The fifth victim "AG" is only 17 years old. She testified in June 2014, she was walking home alone near NW 16th and Blackwelder. Holtzclaw offered her a ride. She accepted. When they walked to the porch of her home, he started to search her. "AG" said he put his hand under her clothes, touched her breasts and vagina. She testified he told her "you have warrants, I don’t want to take you to jail, I don’t want to make this harder than it has to be." He allegedly pulled down her cotton shorts and underwear and raped her. When asked why she didn't report the incident she said, "What am I going to do called the cops? He was the cops." After the incident, the teen moved out of state. The officer’s uniform was taken on June 18, 2014, for testing. DNA evidence was obtained from inside the fly of pants. It matched the DNA of "AG."
The sixth victim is Syrita Bowen. KOCO 5 is identifying her by name because she choose to share her story publicly. "I got a lot of people behind me, a lot of people in the neighborhood know and so I'm good," Bowen told KOCO 5's Kim Passoth. According to her testimony on May 21, 2014, she was walking home alone near NE 16th and Highland. She reported Officer Holtzclaw pulled up next to her and started asking questions including if she had anything on her. She claimed he then offered to drive her home but instead took her to NE 13th and Highland, known in the area as "Dead Man's Curve." That's where he pulled over and forced her to perform oral sex. Then he told her to step out of the car and proceeded to rape her. She reported he did not use a condom. Afterwards he dropped her off where he picked her up and said "I will see you again." She told people what happened and eventually a friend saw a news report of Holtzclaw's arrest. That friend contacted detectives who contacted her. Passoth asked, "If you had actually gone to the cops initially when this happened do you think anyone would have believed you?" Bowen answered, "No, that's what I thought initially and I am glad for my friend that called and told that I was one of his victims."
The seventh victim "JL" sparked the police investigation into Holtzclaw. She is a grandmother with no prior criminal record. Defense attorney Scott Adams did not have a single question for her after she recounted her version of the events of the night of June 18, 2014. She testified she was at a friend's house until 2 AM on the NE side of OKC. As she was driving home, Officer Holtzclaw pulled her over and put her in the backseat of her car. She said he asked "how do I know you don’t have anything in your bra?" She lifted her shirt and he shined his flashlight on her breasts. She thought he was going to kill her because "he's not going to risk everything to let me go." "JL" claimed Holtzclaw then unzipped pants. She said, "You are not supposed to do this!" She tried to perform oral sex but was too scared. Afterwards she drove to daughter's house crying. They immediately went to police station to report the assault.
The eighth victim "SE" said she was walking near NE 16th and Martin Luther King Blvd. on May 16, 2014. She was stopped by Holtzclaw. She told him her name and he put her in his police car because she had warrants. That's when he put his hands under her shirt and inside her pants. She testified he pulled out penis and told her to put it in her mouth. Afterwards he drove to an abandoned school and raped her. After the rape, she walked home and told her boyfriend what happened. He told her to get a rape kit. She had sex with another man that night so she decided not to follow his advice. Her boyfriend then broke up with her because she admitted to cheating on him prior to being assaulted. In court, she was the only alleged victim who could not positively identify Officer Holtzclaw.
The state added two additional counts of sexual assault against Holtzclaw because of the testimony of "SE."
The ninth victim to take the stand was 44-year-old "TM." She testified that on May 8, 2014, she was walking home alone near NE 16th and Lindsay. A police officer pulled up and stopped her. He asked if she had anything on her. She had crack pipe in her bag. He took it from her and placed her in the back of his patrol car. He drove a few blocks away and parked near the Oklahoma History Center. "TM" testified he opened the back door, told her to open her pants and he looked inside. He pulled up her shirt, exposed her bare breasts and threatened to take her to jail. According to her testimony, he then asked for oral sex. She complied and then he let her go. When questioned why she did what the officer asked she answered, "I was scared of him being an officer... I thought he might make something up on me." "TM" told the court she stared crying so Holtzclaw drove her home and gave her crack pipe back to her. She said she did not go to police to report what happened because, "I didn't think anyone would believe me. I'm a drug addict." She said she dealt with the trauma by using more drugs. "The only way I knew how to deal with it was to get high to block it out."
The tenth victim to take the stand was 38-year-old "RG." She is currently in jail and was escorted in the courtroom by a guard. She testified on April 24, 2014, she was drinking and getting high on crack cocaine near NE 14th and Jordan. Officer Holtzclaw drove up and asked her what she was doing. He searched her purse and found a crack pipe. "RG" told the court he offered her a ride home. She accepted and once they arrived he walked inside with her. He followed her upstairs to her bedroom. He told her "this is better than county." She took that to mean she could have sex with him rather than being arrested. She performed oral sex. "RG" testified she was sitting on bed during the incident and his gun was on still on his belt near her head. He then told her to lay down, got on top of her and raped her. She told the judge she did not want to do those things. "RG" said she did not call police after he left because she was on drugs and didn't want to be tested. When she was arrested in July, "RG" claimed she told jail staff about what happened.
The eleventh woman to take the stand was 54-year-old "CM." On April 14, 2014, she was walking near NE 16th and Kate. Officer Holtzclaw pulled up and asked if she was a working girl. He got out of the car and searched her. She admits she had a crack pipe. She testified he took it and crushed it. According to her testimony, he then grabbed her breast. She said a car drove up so he stopped. "CM" is also currently in jail charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon. She admits she was high on crack at the time of the stop.
The twelfth victim to take the stand was "RC," a woman who appeared to be in her early 40’s. She testified on April 25, 2014, she was drinking alcohol in her 2006 Ford Escape near NE 23rd and Martin Luther King Blvd. She was also high on cocaine. Officer Holtzclaw pulled her over. "RC" said he asked her to step out of car because smelled like she had been drinking. She said she didn't want to go to jail. He told her he would take her to detox. She did not want to leave her car in the high-crime area. She said he allowed her to drive her car to a relative's house. Once there she testified he told her to pull her pants down and she complied. "He was an officer, I knew he could hurt me," she told the court. She claimed he then bent her over and raped her. Then he left. When asked why she didn't tell she said, "I've been raped before. I was ashamed, I didn’t want to face it." Since the incident she moved away from OKC.
The final victim to take the stand, the thirteenth of the hearing was "KL." She is currently on probation for drugs charges. On June 18, 2014, she was arguing with her boyfriend and took a walk to cool down. She was near NE 16th and Lottie when Holtzclaw stopped and pulled her over. She was on the phone with her boyfriend and he told her to hang up the phone. The officer offered her a ride, she reluctantly got in. She asked to be dropped off but said he wouldn't let her out. "KL" testified he took her to an abandoned school building. According to the state, it was the same location where Holtzclaw took another victim. He asked if "KL" had anything on her. She exposed her breasts and undid her pants so he could see. He made sexual comments and asked for oral sex, according to "KL." He then forced her to perform oral sex and raped her. Afterwards he told her he wanted to see her the next day. She stayed in her home for a couple days afterwards to avoid him. She reported the officer has tattoos on his arms.
After all 13 victims took the stand, Detective Kim Davis with the Oklahoma City Police Department's Sex Crime Unit also testified. She reported "JL" was the first victim to come to her attention. "KL" reported to her probation officer and the officer contacted OCPD. When the investigation began, Davis pulled the records for the computer in Holtzclaw's squad car "Charlie 45." Holtzclaw ran all of the names of the victims through the system in his car with only one exception. He worked the 4PM - 2PM shift, which aligns with the times of the reported assaults. "JL" was stopped at NE 50th and Lincoln. Police found surveillance video at a nearby business with the date and time stamped showing the traffic stop. Davis testified when she confronted Holtzclaw he admitted to making the traffic stop on "JL" though he did not call it in at the time as required. Davis testified the GPS in "Charlie 45" showed Holtzclaw stopped for period of time when the rapes and assaults occurred. "They are telling the truth," said Davis about the victims. She said his car was specifically tracked to the abandoned school where two of the rapes occurred but he never radioed in his location. She also testified her investigation found another victim but the District Attorney does not feel evidence is strong enough to present those charges at the current time.
Defense Attorney Scott Adams argued many of the counts should be dropped. He said some of the women willingly exposed themselves. He said Holtzclaw touched some of the women over their clothing while searching them for drugs and while that may violate police policy, it is not criminal.
Judge Doak found probable cause on all of the charges except count 6 (stalking is a misdemeanor and not covered by the preliminary hearing.) Holtzclaw will stand trial on all 36 counts. Until then he will remain on house arrest at his parent's home in Enid.
Passoth asked Holtclaw as he walked out of court, "13 women say you sexually assaulted them, are they all lying?" He remained silent. His next court date is set for January.
When he is convicted, part of the (life) sentence should be for him and his family to give back the total sum of donations they begged from around the world and give that money to the victims who deserved our support and financial help, while our attention was focused on an untarnished badge as if it means an untarnished man.
- KOCO 5Reporter, 2012 - present
Kim Passoth graduated Summa Cum Laude with honors from the University of California, Los Angeles with degrees in Political Science and Mass Communications. While at UCLA she interned at KABC-7, Los Angeles, covering red carpet events as the entertainment intern. She was also a reporter for UCLA’s Bruin News 29 and Daily Bruin Television. One of the most memorable stories she covered was the tasering of a student in the campus library, which became international news.
Her first on-air job was at the ABC station in Great Falls, Montana, where she was the 5:30 anchor and a general assignment reporter. She produced and anchored all station coverage of the historic 2008 presidential elections. Passoth’s favorite all-time interview was with Walter Bruening, then 113-years-old, who was the world's oldest living man.
Passoth turned in her snow boots for flip flops to work in the beach town of Corpus Christi, Texas. At her third ABC station, KIII-3, she served as the weekend morning anchor and crime reporter. She also covered major events like hurricanes and got the chance to fly over the sight of the BP Oil Spill. Passoth was also invited to fly in an F-18 fighter jet with the Navy's flight demonstration squadron the Blue Angels. She’s proud to have started the "Pet of the Week" segment helping shelter dogs and cats find loving homes. Her dog, Summer, came from one of the featured shelters.
Passoth loves to hear from viewers. If you have a story suggestion or would just like to say hello, send her an e-mail at email@example.com or message her on facebook (kim passoth) or twitter (@kpassoth).
- University of California, Los Angeles