OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma City police officer will stand trial on dozens of charges alleging he sexually assaulted 13 women while on duty, the judge's order coming exactly five months after the first complaint was reported to police.
During the two-day preliminary hearing, prosecutors filed an additional four sex assault charges against Daniel Holtzclaw based on testimony, bringing the total number of charges to 36. The charges include six counts of first-degree rape, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, as well as sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy and indecent exposure.
Holtzclaw, 27, has pleaded not guilty to each count. Oklahoma County Special Judge Fred Doak allowed Holtzclaw, who is on leave, to remain free on $609,000 bail. He is due back in court for a pretrial conference on Jan. 21.
During the hearing, all 13 alleged victims gave graphic testimony about the sex acts they said they did not want to perform but did so because they were frightened.
"It was either that or the county jail," a 38-year-old woman said Tuesday of being forced to perform sex acts. The Associated Press does not identify people who have made allegations of sexual assault.
Another woman testified that Holtzclaw forced her to expose herself and have sex with him in April. "He was an officer. And I was scared. And I knew he could hurt me," she said.
Holtzclaw showed no reaction when the trial was ordered, and said nothing as he left the courtroom. His attorney did not immediately respond to a telephone call seeking comment.
During some of Tuesday's testimony, protesters outside of the courthouse could be heard five stories up, chanting "No Bail" and "Justice."
All of the alleged victims are black; Holtzclaw is listed as Asian or Pacific Islander in court records. It's not clear whether race played a role in the alleged crimes.
"Who am I to a police officer? I didn't know what was going to happen next," a 44-year-old woman who said she was forced to expose herself and perform oral sex said through tears.
Police began investigating Holtzclaw after a woman who testified Monday reported an alleged assault on June 18, and he was arrested in August. None of the other women who have spoken at the hearing reported incidents until detectives contacted them after opening an investigation.
"What am I going to do, call the cops? He was a cop," said a 17-year-old girl who told the courtroom Monday that Holtzclaw raped her on the front porch of her mother's home. Another witness, a 23-year-old woman, said Holtzclaw sexually assaulted her while she was high on drugs and handcuffed to a hospital bed.
"I just gasped," she said, adding that she felt shocked and disgusted by the behavior. The woman denied suggestions by the defense that she could have been hallucinating.
Holtzclaw, who had been with the department for three years, was initially accused of assaulting eight women and more charges were added when other victims came forward.