How Long Will Daniel Holtzclaw Be In Prison? The Oklahoma Officer Was Just Sentenced For His Rape Convictions
Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison Thursday for raping and sexually assaulting eight women while on duty. Holtzclaw will be required to serve the sentences consecutively, District Judge Timothy Henderson ruled after denying a motion from the defense for a new trial.
Holtzclaw had been convicted of 18 of the 36 counts brought against him last month. The charges included four counts of first-degree rape, and counts of sexual battery, second-degree rape, and forced oral sodomy, among others. A total of 13 women testified against Holtzclaw, who prosecutors said used his position of authority to victimize African-American women he came in contact with while patrolling a low-income area of Oklahoma City in 2013 and 2014. The women said the 29-year-old former police officer forced himself on them after stopping them to conduct physical or background searches. One of the accusers was allegedly 17 at the time she claimed Holtzclaw inappropriately touched and raped her after driving her to her mother's home.
"He didn’t choose CEOs or soccer moms; he chose women he could count on not telling what he was doing," Reuters reported prosecutor Lori McConnell said during closing arguments. "He counted on the fact no one would believe them and no one would care."
Holtzclaw's defense attorney Scott Adams told local news reporters they were not surprised by the sentence and would appeal. Holtzclaw, who opted not to take the stand in his defense last month, was described by his attorneys during the trial as a "model officer," whose efforts to help were being distorted.
An investigation against Holtzclaw was opened in June 2014 after a woman filed a sexual assault complaint. Other women did not come forward to speak out against Holtzclaw until police had identified them as likely victims, which the defense had argued marred the credibility of their claims.
Thursday's sentencing was initially delayed due to the defense's request for a new trial, which Judge Henderson denied.
The case was included in an Associated Press investigation on incidents of sexual misconduct by police. According to AP, 1,000 police officers were decertified for sex crimes or sexual misconduct over a six-year period.
Oklahoma County District Attorney Scott Prater spoke out about Holtzclaw's use of his uniform and position in intimidating and victimizing women following the former police officer's sentencing Thursday:
I think people need to realize that this is not a law-enforcement officer that committed these crimes. This is a rapist who masqueraded as a law-enforcement officer. If he was a true law enforcement officer he would have upheld his duty to protect those citizens rather than victimize them.