In December of 2015, a jury found former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw guilty on 18 counts of sexual assault and rape. A month later, on January 21, 2016, Judge Timothy Henderson sentenced the serial rapist to a consecutive 263 year prison term.
But on Friday, Oklahoma City’s NBC affiliate KFOR reported that Holtzclaw’s name had “disappeared” from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections website.
On Tuesday the database showed the following information on Holtzclaw.
Three days later, on January 29, the database showed no record of Holtclaw at all.
KFOR contacted the state Department of Corrections, only to be told by a department spokesperson “We are not going to comment, it is a matter of security.”
Holtzclaw was convicted of sexually assaulting seven women and he is believed to have victimized many others. All but one of his victims were Black women. His youngest victim was just 17 years old, while his oldest victim was a 57-year-old grandmother of 12.
Under Oklahoma law, Holtzclaw’s victims have very specific rights, including the right to know his location.
The state Attorney General’s office and law enforcement agencies provide this information via the VINELink website, which is supposed to be updated daily with changes in offender status.
Holtzclaw still shows up in the VINELink database, but his location is now listed as “unknown.”
According to KFOR, Holtzclaw’s victims have not been notified of any change in status or location, although Oklahoma law requires that crime victims be notified of any such changes.
Alex Gerszewsk, an Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesperson refused to provide KFOR with information on Holtzclaw’s whereabouts, saying only that he was “processed at Lexington exactly as every other offender.”
Gerszewsk repeated the same ‘security’ claim, saying “we cannot reveal his location for security; the security of the inmate and the facility.”
The state Department of Corrections and the VINELink publish the information of all offenders, including pedophiles, child abductors, serial killers and hundreds of other people who have committed every horrific and violent crime imaginable.
There’s little doubt that those criminals would like to have their information deleted from the Department of Corrections website as well. I’m sure they’d like to have their whereabouts kept confidential for ‘security reasons,’ since those crimes are likely to get you beaten, raped or killed in prison.
There’s just one difference between Holtzclaw and every other serial rapist incarcerated in Oklahoma. Holtzclaw is a former police officer.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections seems to think it’s OK to break the law and violate the rights of the women Holtzclaw raped and sexually assaulted, by removing his information from their database and concealing his whereabouts.
This is completely unacceptable. It is the duty of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to protect crime victims, not serial rapists who just happen to be former cops.
Featured image credit: VINELink