When it rains, it pours.
A Tulsa County Sheriff’s Deputy is the third recent Oklahoma law enforcement officer to be arrested on complaints of on-duty sexual assault.
On August 21, Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw was arrested for allegedly raping and sexually assaulting women during traffic stops in the department’s Springlake division. He has been charged with multiple crimes, including first degree rape, forcible sodomy, sexual battery, indecent exposure, burglary, and stalking.
On Monday, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Eric Roberts was arrested in Creek County after an investigation following a rape complaint lodged against the trooper in July. The OHP says they believe Roberts sexually assaulted at least three women, raping two of them.
Now, a Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office deputy has resigned after being arrested Tuesday on complaints of sexual battery and indecent exposure. Gerald Nuckolls, 26, was arrested Tuesday evening after a woman called earlier that morning to report a sexual assault.
The woman said that a uniformed deputy arrived at her apartment at approximately 4:00 a.m., saying he was there to investigate a 9-1-1 hang-up call. The deputy allegedly required a second woman at the apartment to get into his patrol vehicle. That woman told investigators that the uniformed officer threatened to take her boyfriend to jail unless she touched his genitals.
The women say that the deputy then went back to the apartment to search for drugs, where he assaulted the first woman, pulling down her dress and then exposing himself to her. News reports say the deputy told the woman he would be back “to check on her” when his shift ended, but instead, the woman called to report the assaults.
Nuckolls allegedly admitted to “meeting” women at traffic stops or calls, exchanging nude or sexually explicit photos with them, and engaging in sexual contact.
He was placed on administrative leave, arrested, and jailed on $65,000 bond. He resigned the following morning.
If these accusations are true, this rash of sexual assaults by on-duty Oklahoma law enforcement agents is despicable. Such officers are abusing the badge and their authority as well as violating an oath and duty to protect the public welfare. They are behaving exactly as the criminals from whom they are supposed to be protecting us, and using fear and intimidation to do so.
When a police officer, sheriff’s deputy, or highway patrol trooper is corrupt, abusive, and criminal, it destroys the trust many people have in law enforcement, and it reinforces the beliefs of those who already distrust the law. This mistrust makes it more difficult for true peace officers to perform their duties as public servants.