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Department of Justice
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Former Police Officer Sentenced for Sexually Assaulting an Individual in His Custody

Jerry Lynn Gragg Jr., 41, a former police officer with the Savanna Police Department in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, was sentenced today in federal court in Muskogee, Oklahoma, to 100 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release. Gragg previously pleaded guilty to one count of violating the civil rights of a female whom he sexually assaulted during a routine traffic stop. As part of his sentence, Gragg must forfeit his law enforcement certification and comply with federal and state sex offender registration requirements. 

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 serious bodily injury, kidnapping, or death.

“The Department of Justice will not tolerate the actions of law enforcement officers who exploit their authority and sexually abuse individuals in their custody,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “Gragg’s sentencing today reflects the Justice Department’s commitment to holding officers who violate an individual’s civil rights accountable for their egregious actions. The Civil Rights Division will continue to vigorously prosecute these cases.”

"I commend the victim for her strength and courage to come forward and provide law enforcement with the information necessary to hold the Defendant accountable for committing this heinous act and 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.”

This case was 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 was 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.

 

Press Release Number: 
18-500
Updated April 18, 2018