Canadian County Major Resigns Amid Sexual Abuse Investigation Dating Back Decades
CANADIAN COUNTY, Oklahoma - A Canadian County major with the sheriff’s office has resigned following allegations that he sexual abused another man for years.
Family of the alleged victim is sharing his story so that others might come forward.
“I don't want this man to be able to hide behind his badge and his power,” said Gabrielle Welch, the alleged victim’s daughter.
Welch said her father, a man named Buddy, passed away on Friday.
For years, loved one’s had kept this allegation a secret, because Buddy was “too ashamed” to come forward. With his passing, he gave his daughter permission to report the assaults.
Welch posted the entire story on Facebook, and reported it to law enforcement. Immediately, the sheriff’s office began investigating and even spoke with the Oklahoma District Attorney’s Office.
Sheriff West said he takes allegations like this very seriously, even though these events didn’t happen under his watch.
Recently, investigators discovered the statute of limitations had already expired. Due to that, News 9 will not be reporting the suspect’s name.
The case reportedly began back in the mid-1980s.
Welch said her dad was a teenager, and he and another teen stole a motorcycle, and were caught by a Yukon police officer. She said that officer secretly recorded Buddy’s confession to the crime, and then tried to use it against him.
“If my dad would be available for sexual favors, that he (the officer) would never let police know that he had this recording,” said Welch.
Family said the abuse continued on and off for years.
In 1996, Welch’s mother answered the phone, and said she saw a Yukon patrol car in her driveway.
“My dad took the phone call and started hysterically crying and told my mom, ‘I have to go.’ He walked out the front door, got into the back of the police car, came home about an hour later. That's when he confessed to my mom that he was being extorted.
Welch said she was a young child at the time. She does not believe the abuse was recent.
The family tried to urge Buddy multiple times to come forward, but said his guilt prevented him from doing so.
Upon his passing, Welch learned the officer in question had transferred to the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office and was made a major.
She said she knows her father’s case will likely never make it to court because of time that has passed, and lack of evidence involved. However, she is urging others to come forward and to contact her if they share similar trauma.
“To let them know they are not alone, someone is fighting for them. That's the best way to honor my father,” said Welch.
Family said they do not believe one person’s actions speak for the entire department.
They credit the sheriff’s office with taking this allegation seriously.
Sheriff West confirms the major's resignation happened Thursday afternoon, and added because it was an administrative investigation, it is not public record.
The sheriff’s office could not comment any further.