MARSHALL COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – A former Canadian County deputy has been arrested in regards to an alleged sexual assault.
According to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, on July 20, Canadian Co. Deputy Wesley Wayne Hunter Jr. was transporting an adult female to the Canadian Co. Jail regarding an outstanding warrant.
It was determined that at some point during the transportation, Hunter stopped the vehicle in a remote area and sexually assaulted the female passenger.
Officials say the Canadian Co. Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from the OSBI on July 25 regarding the case.
According to OSBI, special agents were able to find evidence indicating that the assault happened in Marshall County, near State Highway 70 and Antioch Road.
Based on what agents found, Hunter was arrested and booked into the Marshall County Jail on Second Degree Rape.
While OSBI was originally the lead agency investigating, the case is now headed to federal court because Hunter is Native and the alleged assault allegedly occurred on Native-American land.
Tribal attorney Robert Don Gifford confirmed that the only place to prosecute that felony is in federal court.
“The state does not have jurisdiction,” he said.
“There’s a little bit broader jurisdiction than what we may see historically where a case is only being handled in one county by a certain DA’s office [but] the tribal courts are limited only to misdemeanors,” he added.
But, former police detective, forensic psychologist and University of Oklahoma professor David McLeod said police sexual misconduct against people in custody needs to be confronted.
“[There are] lower levels of autonomy and resource access. [Incarcerated people] have less of a voice [and] less of an opportunity to have support systems and legal representation.”
Data shows after excessive force, sexual misconduct is the second most commonly reported form of police misconduct, according to the Cato Institute.
“If we look at [other] reports and the [available] research over the past several decades where we’re looking specifically at arrest rates or conviction rates, those are wildly low for police officers,” McLeod continued.
“With especially sexual assault, we have to be very cognizant people select their targets or victims because they think they can get away with it [but] if we know about it and we don’t do anything I think there’s some negligence there,” he said.
While Welsey Wayne Hunter is no longer employed by the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office, this is at least the second arrest involving a Canadian County Sheriff’s Deputy in over a year.
Last May, KFOR reported the arrest of David Wayne Loman who was arrested after being accused of sexually assaulting a female inmate multiple times while transferring her from a Marshall County jail.
A preliminary hearing in that case is scheduled for August 7th.