Ex-OHP Trooper Appears in Court for Rape Case05-Feb-2016
Former Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Eric William Roberts, 43, is one of three Oklahoma law officers that was charged within a short span of time for alleged sex crimes committed while on duty. Two of those cases have been resolved:
- In October, former Tulsa County Sheriff's Deputy Gerald Nuckolls was convicted of one count each of sexual battery and indecent exposure for an on-duty incident. The following month, a judge followed a jury's recommendation to sentence him to four years in prison for each count, with credit for time served. The two sentences are to run consecutively.
- In December, former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Ken Holtzclaw was convicted of 18 felonies, including rape, forcible sodomy, and sexual battery, involving a string of sexual assaults against women during his patrol with the department's Spring Lake division. Holtzclaw was sentenced last month to 236 consecutive years in prison.
Although the cases against those two former law enforcement officers have reached their conclusions, the rape case involving Roberts is still pending.
Roberts, of Bristow, is charged with eleven criminal counts involving the alleged sexual assaults of three women in June and July of 2014. Yesterday, the defense made a motion to quash one case, in which Roberts was charged with second degree rape for having sex with a woman in his custody. The defense argued that the woman was not in custody: she was never placed in handcuffs or told she was under arrest; she was seated in the front of the squad car, not the back; and she was left in an unlocked car while Roberts went into a convenience store. They maintain that the sexual encounter that occurred between Roberts and the woman was consensual--and if it was consensual and she was not in custody, then the act was not second degree rape.
The prosecution maintained that the woman did not feel free to leave at any time, and therefore, she believed she was in custody. Even if the accuser was a willing participant in a sexual encounter, a person in custody does not have the legal ability to provide consent to the person in authority; therefore, if she was in custody, the sexual encounter was second degree rape.
A judge denied the defense team's motion to quash the case.
Roberts is charged in three separate cases with crimes including second degree rape, rape by instrumentation, sexual battery, procuring lewd exhibition, embezzlement, soliciting a bribe, soliciting an act of lewdness, and forcible sodomy.
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