Victims Speak Out After Jury Convicts Former Oklahoma Officer of Rape
Nate Billings/The Oklahoman via AP

Two of the 13 Black women who were sexually assaulted by former Oklahoma police officer Daniel Holtzclaw are speaking out, less than 24 hours after a jury found Holtzclaw guilty on 18 counts of rape and sexual assault.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference earlier this afternoon, Jannie Ligons—the first of the women to report the officer—recalled how Holtzclaw, 26, pulled her over for swerving. She recalled reading Holtzclaw’s nametag while he was forcing her to perform sexual acts, but she feared for her life if he caught her looking. Upon returning home, she told her daughter what happened, and the two women decided to report him.

“I wasn’t a criminal,” Ligons said, adding that she had been in therapy since the assault and had suffered a stroke because of it. “I have no record. I didn’t do anything wrong.”

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Another victim, identified as S.H., said that she was arrested two years ago by Holtzclaw for alleged drug use and taken to a faraway hospital. While in a haze and handcuffed to the hospital bed, Holtzclaw groped her and forced her to perform oral sex. 

“He manipulated me,” S.H. said during the conference. “I just couldn’t even believe it. I was speechless. I was scared…I felt like I was in survivor mode. I had to do what he was making me do, so…”

In total, 13 Black women filed charges against Holtzclaw. Holtzclaw was arrested earlier this year and charged with 36 counts of rape and sexual assault. He was found guilty on 18 counts by an all-White and majority male jury and faces up to 263 years in prison. A judge will make his final sentencing next month.