OKLAHOMA CITY – Less than a day after a former officer was convicted of sex crimes, some of the victims are speaking out.
After deliberating for four days, a jury found former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw guilty of 18 charges related to sex crimes.
The jury recommended a sentence of 263 years.
On Friday, some of the victims in the case decided to speak publicly about the trial and the jury’s decision.
A reverend began the news conference with a prayer for the victims and praise for justice, adding that they know God was in the courtroom last night.
They also prayed for Holtzclaw, asking God to help him find peace and help him realize that what he did was wrong.
Grace Franklin, a co-founder of OKC Artists for Justice, said they are “pleased with the 18 counts that we received. We are not pleased with the 18 counts we did not receive.”
Franklin added that, although eight women did receive justice, five others did not.
“It just left a hollow pit in your stomach, as you listened to them tell similar story after similar story,” said Benjamin Crump, an attorney with the National Bar Association, at the news conference. “And, these women didn’t know each other,”
Crump said he tried to get the national media to pay closer attention to the case.
He called the Holtzclaw case the “biggest rape case America hadn’t heard about.”
He said he couldn’t believe the national media wouldn’t cover the story of a “serial rapist with a badge.”
“Their lives matter. Their experiences matter,” he said.
However, he said that does not take away from the victims’ strength to come forward.
“We’re celebrating their courage for telling their story,” Crump said.
Crump said there will be a civil case in an attempt to get justice for all the women.
At that point, some of the victims decided to speak out about the case.
“I was violated in June by a police officer,” said Janne Lygons, one of the victims. ” He did things to me I didn’t think a police officer would do.”
Lygons said she felt that her life was in danger and thought that, if he knew her name, he was going to kill her.
She called police about the attack, which started the entire investigation.
“I was scared. I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I was in survivor mode, so I had to do what he was making me do,” said Sade Hill.
Hill’s parents asked how Holtzclaw could have been operating so long and demanded that he get the harshest sentence possible.
Hill’s parents asked that several city leaders and state leaders be investigated.
Crump thanked the jury for taking the case seriously and deliberating over the evidence.
“A lot of people didn’t think these women could get justice,” Crump said. “There’s hope for our country, and there’s hope for our society.”