Oklahoma police officer charged with raping women while on duty

By Heide Brandes
Oklahoma police officer charged with raping women while on duty

By Heide Brandes

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - An Oklahoma City police officer accused of sexually assaulting 13 women while on duty will face trial for 35 felony counts including rape and sexual assault, court officials said on Wednesday.

If convicted, Daniel Holtzclaw, 27, could face life in prison. Holtzclaw, who is on paid leave, has denied the allegations against him and remains under house arrest at his parents' home in Enid, about 70 miles north of Oklahoma City.

At a pretrial hearing this week, 13 women testified about being forced into sex with the officer, who threatened many of them with jail. The charges include six counts of first-degree rape.

"He was an officer. And I was scared. And I knew he could hurt me," one woman said in court.

Another victim, aged 17, said she was raped by Holtzclaw on the front porch of her mother’s home. She testified Holtzclaw picked her up while she walking home and threatened to arrest her on outstanding warrants.

Holtzclaw, who had been on the force for three years, was arrested in August and charged with assaulting eight women. Other victims have came forward since then. Most of the incidents are suspected of taking place between February and June. [ID:nL1N0R70GF]

Holtzclaw's next court date is Jan. 21.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Trott)

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