Prosecutors recommend life plus 20 years for woman

Saturday, March 17th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A boy's reluctance to testify against his mother in a sex abuse trial played a role in a plea agreement reached between Tulsa County prosecutors and the woman.

Catherine A. Nicholson pleaded guilty to 11 counts of sex abuse and one count of causing a minor to participate in a lewd videotape on Friday as part of the bargain.

Assistant District Attorney Eric Jordan said he expected District Judge Tom Gillert to abide by a recommendation of life in prison plus 20 years when he formally sentences the 41-year-old on Monday.

Jordan said a factor in Nicholson's disposition was that the 12-year-old victim did not want to testify against his mother at a trial. The punishment ``should be enough time to make sure that she is not able to get out of the penitentiary,'' Jordan said.

Nicholson's co-defendant and ex-boyfriend, 54-year-old Loyd Dowler, died of natural causes Feb. 3 in the Tulsa Jail, officials said.

Tulsa police began an investigation in July after videotaped evidence was delivered anonymously to Police Chief Ron Palmer and to the Department of Human Services. Sex acts between a woman and a boy, identified as Nicholson and her son, were depicted on the tape.

Nicholson was free on bail on other charges, including possession of methamphetamine, when she was arrested in this case Aug. 3.

She pleaded guilty July 24 to the drug felony and pleaded either guilty or no contest to five misdemeanors. In accordance with a plea bargain reached before the sex-abuse charges were filed, Gillert sentenced her recently to two years in prison in that case.

At a Sept. 19 preliminary hearing, the boy indicated that he was 8 years old when the defendants ``decided to teach me about sex.''

Nicholson and Dowler took him to a park and ``showed me what it was by stripping in the middle of the car'' and having sex in his presence, he said.

Later in 1996, the defendants had sex in his presence at his mother's apartment and had him engage in sex with his mother. When he was about 10, Dowler videotaped him having sex with Nicholson, according to his testimony.

Dowler was charged in the case on Aug. 22, when he was already in jail on multiple drug and gun-possession counts.

The boy now lives in another city with his grandmother.