Law Enforcement Sex Crimes Allegations Put Focus On Public Trust

Monday, September 15th 2014, 10:05 pm
By: News 9

Law enforcement officers are accused of preying on women and sexually assaulting them, from Oklahoma City officer Daniel Holtzclaw, to a Minco reserve officer and now a highway patrol trooper.

All of this is putting a focus on the public's trust.

News 9 had the chance to talk to people from across the state and overall the trust is still there. But some said they are a lot more vigilant than they used to be because of the recent allegations.

“You want to be able to trust the police,” said Holly Bailey of Edmond.

“Oh, it makes you worry,” said Wanda Ragsdale. “Everybody needs to be wary of any circumstance, but at the same time, they made their choices, you know, and there's consequences for your choices.”

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Colonel Ricky Adams called the latest incident sickening. One of his troopers, Eric Roberts is accused of using his badge to get sexual favors.

9/15/2014 Related Story: OHP Trooper Accused Of Sex Crimes Bonds Out Of Jail

“If he's convicted, it represents the ultimate betrayal of a man's oath,” said Adams. “Oath to his state, to his agency, to his family … his oath to support and defend and protect the public.”

“Any allegations that come out, affect public trust,” said Roberts' Defense attorney, Gary James. “I will also say a lot of that is unfair.”

Roberts' defense attorney Gary James represents law enforcement and other high-profile defendants, and he's closely monitoring the public's feedback on the case.

“I still have a lot of faith in the police, I do, even as an African American person. I've met a lot of good police officers in my life. There are a lot of bad apples, but that's in any industry,” said Kelli Ude of Oklahoma City.

Kelli Ude said she went to high school in Enid with Daniel Holtzclaw. Holtzclaw is charged with 16 felonies that include allegations of sexual battery, indecent exposure, oral sex and rape.

9/5/2014 Related Story: OKC Officer Accused Of Sexual Assaults Bonds Out Of Jail

“If I get pulled over, I'm looking to see if it's a cop car with lights, a badge on the officer. I might call for a marked car,” said Ude.

Back in August, off-duty Minco reserve officer, Brett Johnson is accused of sexually assaulting two women in Oklahoma City. He remains in jail.

“Yes, we have to be aware ourselves. We can't just totally give or trust into them. But, if we're breaking the law, we have to pay the consequences,” said Kathleen Abercrombie.

OHP Trooper Eric Roberts spent just five hours in jail before posting a $66,000 bond Monday.