Women who accused cop of sex crimes seek to resume lawsuit
Dec. 14, 2015
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Attorneys for several women who accused a former Oklahoma City police officer of sexual assault asked a federal judge on Monday to allow a civil case to move forward now that a jury found him guilty of rape and other charges.
Attorneys for the women filed an application to lift the stay after last week's verdict finding Daniel Holtzclaw guilty of 18 of 36 charges alleging he raped and sexually victimized women he encountered while patrolling low-income neighborhoods on the city's northeast side.
The jury recommended a total of 263 years in prison. Formal sentencing is scheduled for January.
Seven of the 13 women who accused Holtzclaw in the criminal case are plaintiffs in the lawsuit that has been transferred from Oklahoma County to U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City. The defendants are Holtzclaw and the city of Oklahoma City.
The women, who are seeking class-action status, allege the city was negligent in its hiring and supervision of Holtzclaw and should have known about Holtzclaw's dangerous conduct. The suit claims Holtzclaw's actions violated the women's civil rights and seeks damages of more than $75,000.
A telephone message left with the women's lead attorney, Mark Hammons, was not immediately returned.
The city opposes a class-action suit and denies it failed to properly supervise or investigate Holtzclaw. Attorneys for the city also note several of the women failed to properly file a tort claim against the city.
Oklahoma City attorney Richard Smith in the city's litigation unit said police detectives aggressively pursued the case against Holtzclaw as soon as he was identified as the suspect in the assaults.
Most of the victims in Holtzclaw's case never came forward until police identified him as the assailant and arrested him.
Sean Murphy can be reached at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy
This story has been updated to correct spelling of Holtzclaw's name in all instances.