US

Cop raped girl after taking her to hospital for rape kit, lawsuit says

Rodney Vicknair, 54, was arrested in September last year on a string of charges, including sexual battery, indecent behavior with a juvenile and malfeasance in office over the incident involving the 14-year-old girl

A New Orleans police officer allegedly groomed and raped a 14-year-old girl after he was dispatched to take her to a hospital for a rape kit exam for a different sexual assault, a lawsuit claims.

Rodney Vicknair, 54, was arrested in September last year on a string of charges, including sexual battery, indecent behavior with a juvenile and malfeasance in office over the incident involving the girl.

Vicknair, a 13-year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department, is accused of grooming the girl for several months before eventually raping her, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the girl’s mother this week.

The lawsuit says Vicknair was among the officers dispatched to the girl’s home over Memorial Day weekend last year in response to a rape allegation.

He drove the victim to the Children’s Hospital New Orleans so she could undergo a rape kit as part of a forensic medical examination.

While they were in the waiting room, Vicknair allegedly showed the girl photos on his phone of who he claimed was his 16-year-old daughter posing in bikinis and lingerie.

Following the hospital visit, the lawsuit alleges that Vicknair – who portrayed himself as a mentor to the girl – called and texted her almost every day for the next four months.

He also regularly went to her home and asked her to meet him outside in his car. 

The lawsuit alleges that Vicknair groped the girl on several occasions, including once when he came into her home at night, shined his flashlight in her face to wake her and then groped her breasts. 

Vicknair, who had a history of behavioral complaints, was placed on leave following his arrest in September and was fired on January 13

Vicknair, who had a history of behavioral complaints, was placed on leave following his arrest in September and was fired on January 13

Vicknair, a 13-year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department, is accused of grooming the girl for several months before eventually raping her, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the girl's mother this week

Vicknair, a 13-year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department, is accused of grooming the girl for several months before eventually raping her, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the girl’s mother this week

On two occasions, he allegedly raped her using his fingers while they were in his police vehicle. The lawsuit alleges he was armed both times and the doors were locked on one occasion.

Over the four months, Vicknair also allegedly solicited sexual acts, which the girl declined. He also asked her to send him nude photos and twice exposed his genitals to her on Facetime, according to the lawsuit.

He struck the girl on her arm with a police baton and forcefully twisted her arm while telling her how easily he could break it, the lawsuit says. 

Vicknair also allegedly joked about killing the girl’s loved ones. 

He was investigated and then arrested last September after complaints were made with two law enforcement agencies. 

Vicknair had the girl’s underwear in his possession when he was taken into custody, the lawsuit says. 

Under Louisiana law, Vicknair couldn’t be charged with rape because he used his fingers to penetrate the girl. The lawsuit, however, says that the same act would be considered rape under federal law.

On two occasions, he allegedly raped her using his fingers while they were in his police vehicle. The lawsuit alleges he was armed both times and the doors were locked on one occasion (file photo)

On two occasions, he allegedly raped her using his fingers while they were in his police vehicle. The lawsuit alleges he was armed both times and the doors were locked on one occasion (file photo)

Vicknair, who had a history of behavioral complaints, was placed on leave following his arrest and was fired on January 13. 

The department said it subsequently contacted the FBI for ‘potential civil rights violations’. 

‘As I stated from the moment this was brought to my attention, this type of alleged behavior will not be condoned or tolerated,’ Superintendent of Police Shaun D. Ferguson said in the statement. 

‘These alleged actions are clear violations of the department’s policies and contrary to everything that we require and expect of our police officers.’ 

The lawsuit says the police department should never have dispatched Vicknair to the girl’s home last year in response to the sex assault because he wasn’t a member of the special victims or child abuse units. 

It also references his history of complaints, including predatory behavior toward women.

‘Officer Vicknair was a singularly bad choice for this task,’ the lawsuit says. ‘He was not a member of NOPD’s Special Victims or Child Abuse units, and he had a long list of citizen complaints of unprofessional and illegal conduct.’ 

The lawsuit details how Vicknair was once suspended for five days for using police equipment to obtain personal information on a woman from her license plate number. He then called out her name in the parking lot of a grocery store, the lawsuit says. 


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