Suit: For Months, Cop Gained Teen's Trust. Then He Raped Her

Complaint filed by mom says Rodney Vicknair was officer originally sent to take girl for a rape exam
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2021 9:00 AM CST

A New Orleans cop is now a former one after accusations that he groomed and raped a 14-year-old girl he'd taken for a rape evaluation. The allegations against Rodney Vicknair are detailed in a lawsuit by the teen's mother, which says that Vicknair was the police officer dispatched to a rape scene in May 2020 to take the girl to a hospital for a medical evaluation, per the Washington Post. That night, and for four months afterward, Vicknair kept in touch with the girl via "inappropriate" calls, texts, and meetings, states the complaint, filed last week in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Eventually, Vicknair began molesting and raping the teen during their meetings, the suit alleges. He was arrested in September and charged with sexual battery, indecent behavior with a juvenile, and malfeasance in office over his conduct. Vicknair, a 13-year veteran of the force, was first placed on emergency suspension, then fired in January.

Per the New York Times, Vicknair couldn't be charged with rape under Louisiana law, as he'd used his fingers for the assault; the suit notes that would be considered rape under federal law. But it wasn't only the alleged crime the family of the teen, now 15, is upset about. They say there were previous complaints against Vicknair and that, based on those complaints, he shouldn't have been sent to assist them in the first place. "Officer Vicknair was a singularly bad choice for this task," the lawsuit notes. Among the complaints were ones accusing Vicknair of excessive use of force and verbal intimidation, as well as one in which he was said to have used a woman's license plate to track down her personal information, the suit says. "He preyed on a single mother and her young daughter, a rape survivor, by positioning himself as a role model and protective male figure in their lives," an attorney for the mother told the Post. KIRO has more on the accusations. (Read more police officer stories.)

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