Accusations Of Sexual Misconduct Rock OHP

Friday, July 22nd 2011, 10:24 pm
By: News 9

Michael Konopasek, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY – Late Friday, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol admitted one of its own resigned after allegations of sexual assault surfaced.

OHP said it had been investigating a state trooper for several weeks on allegations of sexual misconduct. Officials at OHP would not reveal what those allegations are.

"I'm not going to take any questions because I can't get into any of the facts," said Colonel Kerry Pettingill, chief of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Many details are unknown, but the accusations of sexual misconduct surround former Oklahoma State Trooper Patrick Venable.

"As chief of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol I just have to say that we take such allegations very seriously," said Pettingill. "It goes against our very core values if this proves to be true."

In January, News 9 aired a report in which Venable was hailed as a hero for saving construction workers from a suspected drunk driver.

During the January report Venable said, "What was running through my head was I've got to get this vehicle stopped now."

Late Friday, after state agencies were already closed, a much different story was told about the man. OHP said it received an anonymous call making the allegations against Venable which sparked an internal investigation.

"We have to have the people of this state trust us," said Pettingill. "As enforcers of the law we have to enforce the law even if it's internal."

On June 29th Venable resigned. On Friday, OHP says it turned over it's findings to the Logan County district attorney's office for further investigation.

News 9 attempted to speak with Venable at his Oklahoma City home on Friday, but nobody answered the door. Most neighbors would not go on camera to talk about the man at the center of the investigation.

As of late Friday, no charges were filed in Logan County against Venable. The Logan County DA's office was not available for comment late Friday. News 9 will continue to press OHP for more on the internal investigation.

There have been other troubles for some state troopers lately. Earlier in 2011 prosecutors in Beckham County charged Trooper Ronnie Arganbright with four felonies including lewd acts with a child and embezzlement. Arganbright is also accused of violating a protective order twice.

And, you might remember, Trooper Daniel Martin made national news for this scuffle with a paramedic during a 2009 traffic stop. OHP disciplined Martin for "conduct unbecoming of an officer," but he was never charged with a crime.

07/22/2011 Related Story: OHP Trooper Resigns After Sexual Misconduct Alleged.