A Delaware police officer accused of forcing a woman to give him oral sex in his marked cop car under threat of arrest is claiming the encounter was consensual.
Prosecutors allege Thomas Oliver Jr., 36, was on patrol in October 2018 when he flagged his accuser, a woman who was wanted at the time for misdemeanor assault charges, over to his marked police vehicle.
Deputy Attorney General David Skoranski said Tuesday in court that Oliver then “forced” the woman into the passenger seat of his police vehicle and “forced” her to give him oral sex, according to local newspaper The Delaware News Journal. Police allege Oliver made the woman give him oral sex in exchange for him not arresting her on the outstanding warrant.
Skoranski claimed Oliver “threw” three dollars at his accuser afterward and told her to leave. Skoranski told the jury that a swab test later showed evidence of semen and Oliver’s DNA in the woman's mouth.
"The allegation is that Mr. Oliver instilled a fear in (the accuser) that he was going to have her arrested for that warrant," Skoranski said.
A lawyer for Oliver claimed in court on Tuesday that 11-year police veteran admits to making an “egregious and stupid” mistake by having sex with the woman while on duty, but said the encounter does not amount to second-degree rape –– the most grave charge Oliver faces.
“Thomas Oliver does not deny it was wrong on one level, not a criminal level, for him to pursue his own personal pleasures while serving as a Wilmington police officer,” attorney Eugene Maurer told the jury in his opening statement, claiming his client thought the woman was a sex worker and was interested in having sex with him.
“When the subject matter of oral sex came up she will say that she basically said ‘OK, but I need three or four dollars,’” Maurer said, in an attempt to explain why Oliver "threw" three dollars at the woman, according to the News Journal.
Maurer also told the jury that Oliver would testify in his trial and that he would deny forcing sex on the woman.
Oliver is charged with second-degree rape, sexual extortion, having sex with a person in police custody and official misconduct, according to The News Journal. He was arrested in February following a four-month investigation, according to The Associated Press.
Wilmington police officials suspended him immediately after charges were filed in February, according to local television station Fox 29.
“The charges that have been filed are deeply troubling and disheartening,” Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy said in a February news release, according to The News Journal. “The charge that one of our officers abused his authority to victimize a member of the public in this manner is sickening.”
“Wilmingtonians deserve the best in their law enforcement officers,” Tracy said, according to Philly Voice. “We will not allow the actions of one officer to erode the efforts of the rest of this department, or the progress we have made in building connections with the community.”
Prior to his arrest, Oliver had been hailed by officials as a "good community officer," according to The News Journal.
"There was nothing that would have indicated to me anything that would have lent itself to this in any way," former Lt. Dan Selekman told the newspaper. "This is like a whole different level."
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