A former New Orleans, Louisiana, police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl who was the victim of a crime.
In May 2020, the US Department of Justice said Thursday that Rodney Vicknair, 55, was working as an officer with the New Orleans Police Department when he escorted a 14-year-old girl to an area hospital to undergo to a forensic analysis called rape. equipment.
Vicknair, according to court documents, gave the girl his cell phone number and offered to be her mentor and friend.
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The Justice Department said that in the months and weeks that followed, Vicknair communicated with the victim through text messages, phone calls and Snapchat messages. She would also drop by the victim’s house unannounced and, as the relationship continued, she would make comments of a “sexual nature.”
On September 23, 2020, Vicknair went to the victim’s home and told her to meet him outside and get in his vehicle, a Justice Department press release read. The victim was 15 years old at the time.
Vicknair reportedly then locked the vehicle doors to prevent the victim from leaving, leaned into her and sexually assaulted her by touching her under her clothing, without her consent.
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Vicknair said in court that he knew his actions were wrong and against the law, but he did it anyway, according to the news release.
“The defendant’s job was to protect a girl who was the victim of sexual assault, but instead he exploited her vulnerabilities and abused his position of power to carry out his own sexual assault on the victim,” the Attorney General said. Deputy Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Department. the Rights Division said in the news release. “Law enforcement officials who sexually assault children are not above the law. The Civil Rights Division will continue to hold law enforcement officers accountable who sexually assault their victims when they should have kept them safe.”
Vicknair is scheduled to be sentenced on March 8, 2023.
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The FBI New Orleans Field Office and the New Orleans Police Department’s Office of Public Integrity investigated Vicknair’s case.
Tracey Knight of the Eastern District of Louisiana and Fara Gold of the Criminal Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights division are prosecuting the case.