Ex-Tulsa County Deputy Found Guilty Of Sexual Battery While In Uniform
TULSA, Oklahoma - A former Tulsa County deputy has been found guilty of sexual battery and indecent exposure while on patrol. A jury deliberated less than two hours on Friday to come to the verdict in the case of 27-year-old Gerald Nuckolls.
Nuckolls was accused of crimes that took place in March and September of 2014. He was found guilty of sexual battery and indecent exposure in the September incident at a home where he was dispatched because of an early-morning 911 hang-up call. Nuckolls grabbed the woman's breasts and exposed himself to her during the investigation.
The jury returned a not guilty verdict for the same charges surrounding a March traffic stop.
Nuckolls was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs by his former deputy colleagues. The jury recommended he spend four years in prison for each count. He will be formally sentenced in front of a judge in late November.
Upon release from prison, Nuckolls will have to register as a sex offender, state law says. A sexual battery conviction in Oklahoma is considered a Level 3 offense, which is the highest and requires lifetime registry.
"I think it sends a good message that no matter who you are that you can be held accountable if you break the law," prosecutor Kenneth Elmore said. "I think the jury respected the investigation by the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office. I think they did a fantastic job. They investigated this crime and treated it like they should have."
10/15/2015 Related Story: Ex-Tulsa County Deputy Testifies In His Sexual Battery Trial
After the jury broke to deliberate, Nuckolls smiled for media cameras in the hallway and said, "I still think I'm innocent." Earlier in the day, as he arrived to the courtroom, he smiled and cursed at media gathered to watch him enter.
“You all are like f-----g flies, aren’t you?” he said as he walked up the stairs smiling.
In closing arguments, the prosecutor showed the jury Nuckolls' old deputy badge and said Nuckolls is a predator who used his power as a deputy to prey on weak, vulnerable women who he thought wouldn't be credible if they reported him. The assistant district attorney said Nuckolls is narcissistic and that nothing he did was about sexual gratification, but it was about control.
Nuckolls testified the two accusers came on to him and that any contact was consensual. He also said in a 2014 interview with investigators that he has a problem with pretty women flirting with him and the girls who come on to him put him in that position.
Nuckolls admitted, in part, to the March incident, and he denied the September accusations, saying the woman initiated it. He additionally confessed to having inappropriate contact with about six other women while on duty. He also said he would masturbate every couple of weeks in his patrol car, and that he even had sex in his patrol car.
His attorney argued Nuckolls made a stupid mistake in breaking policies by engaging in inappropriate behavior while on duty, but contended Nuckolls did not commit any crime.
During the three-day trial, jurors watched the 2014 interview investigators did with Nuckolls around the time of his arrest. In that, he denied the allegations for more than an hour, then confessed to part of them. Testifying against him were Nuckolls' ex-fiancee, the September victim, the woman from March, as well as a TCSO deputy who interacted with Nuckolls the night the March 2014 incident reportedly took place.
The deputy said in March 2014, he left the alleged victim alone with Nuckolls during the traffic stop for about 15-30 minutes. He said that looking back, there were red flags and Nuckolls acted odd. He also testified that he feels guilty for leaving the woman “with someone who victimized her.”
10/15/2015 Related Story: Testimony Begins For Former Tulsa County Deputy Charged With Sexual Battery
Nuckolls’ ex-fiancee testified on Wednesday that she found out she was pregnant three weeks after he was accused of the crimes. She said he admitted to her that he'd had consensual sex with another woman and told her had a sexual addiction. She said that three weeks after he was arrested, she found out she was pregnant, and a second arrest warrant was issued. She said Nuckolls admitted more to her then, and she left him.
The ex-fiancee was granted a protective order on Monday for herself and her baby after she said Nuckolls had been harassing her this week before the trial.
According to her petition, Nuckolls made her fear for her safety.
"He has threatened to take his own life," she wrote in the document on Monday. "He has called 10 times in the last hour. I am testifying against him in his [sexual battery] case. He has military training and is a former deputy and I am scared he is going to try to hurt my son and me. He is wanting to see me and my child before he goes on trial. He is aware I am testifying and he keeps calling over and over again. He has never seen or been in contact with my son before.”