Former Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Exploiting his Authority by Sexually Assaulting an Individual
Jerry Lynn Gragg, 40, a former police officer with the Savanna Police Department in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Muskogee, Oklahoma, to one count of violating the civil rights of a female whom he sexually assaulted during a routine traffic stop.
According to court documents, on Jan. 21, 2017, Gragg, while on-duty, stopped a vehicle during the early hours of the morning while it was still dark outside. After approaching the vehicle, Gragg brought the female driver back to his marked patrol unit and directed her to sit in the front passenger seat. Given the coercive power of Gragg’s position as a law enforcement offer, and the physical disparity in size between Gragg and the victim, she could not escape from the patrol car. Thereafter, Gragg caused the victim to perform a sexual act on him against her will. Gragg admitted that he knew what he was doing was wrong and against the law, yet he did so anyway. Gragg further admitted that his acts included aggravated sexual abuse, which under federal law, requires force or putting the victim in fear of bodily injury, kidnapping, or death.
“The Department of Justice will not tolerate law enforcement officers who exploit their authority to sexually abuse individuals in their custody, thinking their actions will go without consequence because of the power they wield,” said Acting Attorney General John M. Gore. “The Civil Rights Division will continue to vigorously prosecute these cases.”
"I commend the strength and courage exhibited by the victim of this heinous act to come forward and provide law enforcement with the information necessary to hold the Defendant accountable for violating his oath to protect and serve his community." said U.S. Attorney Brian Kuester. "While the majority of law enforcement officers follow the laws they are sworn to uphold, this Office will continue to investigate and prosecute those who choose otherwise."
“This deliberate abuse of authority is a disgrace and embarrassment to all members of the law enforcement community,” said FBI’s Oklahoma City Division Special Agent in Charge Kathryn Peterson. “There is an added sense of betrayal when a fellow law enforcement official preys on the citizens he has sworn to protect.”
The terms of the plea agreement require Gragg to forfeit his law enforcement certification and comply with federal and state sex offender registration requirements. A sentencing hearing has not been set.
This case is being investigated by the Oklahoma City Division of the FBI and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation in cooperation with the Pittsburg County District Attorney’s Office and the Savanna Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shannon Henson of the Eastern District of Oklahoma and Special Litigation Counsel Fara Gold of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.