Fired officer's convictions rare triumph for rape victims

  • 12/12/2015

Daniel Holtzclaw was an American football star in college, but when his dreams of a pro career didn't work out he joined the Oklahoma City police. Now he could be spending the rest of his life in prison.

He sexually assaulted a series of women until one brave victim said "enough".

Jannie Ligons was the first to come forward after she was sexually assaulted last June.

"In my mind all I could think was that he was going to shoot me; he was going to kill me. He did things to me that I didn't think a police officer would do," says Ms Ligons.

Twenty-nine-year-old Holtzclaw sobbed uncontrollably last night as he was convicted on 18 of 36 counts, which included first-degree rape and sodomy.

Prosecutors said Holtzclaw targeted 13 African-American women in the poorest parts of Oklahoma City over a six-month period. In some cases, he specifically sought out women who had outstanding arrest warrants.

All 13 women testified. Sharday Hill said she was arrested, then taken to a hospital to detox, where Holtzclaw sexually assaulted her. She was handcuffed to a bed.

"I was scared. I felt like I had to do that, knowing that he's in control; he's the police. I'm handcuffed to a bed. What choice did I have? Go with the flow or no telling what could be," she says.

Some of the victims described how he tried to buy their silence by offering to drop pending charges. Others say as women of colour they were afraid to speak out against an officer – not Ms Ligons.

"I wasn't a criminal; I didn't do anything wrong. I was innocent. He just picked the wrong lady to stop that night," she says.

"When the police is doing the nefarious act, the criminal act, who do you tell? This is a serial rapist with a badge. Who do report him to?" says Attorney Benjamin Crump, representing five of the women.

Holtzclaw is set to be sentenced next month. His victims want the judge to impose the maximum sentence of 263 years in prison.

CBS News