Okla. Cop's Rape Victims Want Civil Suit

7 of 13 victims suing Daniel Holtzclaw, Oklahoma City in class-action suit
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 14, 2015 5:43 PM CST
Okla. Cop's Rape Victims Want Civil Suit
Jannie Ligons, one of the victims of sexual assault by Daniel Holtzclaw, smiles as attorney Benjamin Crump holds up her arm, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Attorneys for several women who accused former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw of sexual assault asked a federal judge on Monday to allow a civil case to move forward now that a jury found him guilty of rape and other charges. Attorneys for the women filed an application to lift the stay after last week's verdict finding Holtzclaw guilty of 18 of 36 charges alleging he raped and sexually victimized women he encountered while patrolling low-income neighborhoods. The jury recommended a total of 263 years in prison. Formal sentencing is in January. Seven of the 13 women who accused Holtzclaw in the criminal case are plaintiffs in the lawsuit that lists Holtzclaw and the city of Oklahoma City as defendants.

The women, who are seeking class-action status, allege the city was negligent in its hiring and supervision of Holtzclaw and should have known about his dangerous conduct. The suit claims Holtzclaw's actions violated the women's civil rights and seeks damages of more than $75,000. The city opposes a class-action suit and denies it failed to properly supervise or investigate Holtzclaw. Attorneys for the city also note several of the women failed to properly file a tort claim against the city. An attorney in the city's litigation unit said detectives aggressively pursued the case as soon as Holtzclaw was identified as the suspect; most victims never came forward until he was arrested. (The AP conducted a "jolting" investigation into the prevalence of sexual assault by cops.)

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