In a lawsuit, the mother of a 14-year-old girl is alleging that a former New Orleans police officer with a history of behavioral complaints was sent to help a rape survivor get medical attention last year and subsequently raped her himself.
According to the complaint, after taking the girl to the hospital for treatment, Officer Rodney Vicknair groomed her for months before sexually assaulting and raping her.
Vicknair was sent to the girl’s home in May to take her to Children’s Hospital New Orleans for a forensic medical examination, accompanied by her mother.
While waiting, Vicknair allegedly showed the girl pictures of another girl, posing in bikinis and lingerie, who he said was his 16-year-old daughter.
Following the hospital visit, Vicknair remained in the girl’s life. According to the complaint, he called the girl almost every day from June to September, paid her daily visits at her house, and asked her to meet him outside in his car under the guise of serving as her tutor.
During those four months, he boasted about committing acts of abuse, joked about killing her loved ones, and “repeatedly portrayed sexual acts he would like to indulge in” with the teen.
The complaint further noted that Vicknair solicited sexual acts from her, which she denied, and then asked her to give him nude pictures, which he showed as his phone’s lock screen. It claims he revealed his genitals to her twice over FaceTime.
Vicknair also groped her several times, including once when he broke into her home late at night and flashed a flashlight in her face to wake her up. He then raped her twice while in his police car, once when the doors were closed and the other time when he was armed.
After allegations were made to two separate agencies, Vicknair was arrested and charged with sexual battery, lewd conduct with a minor, and malfeasance in office.
Vicknair could not be charged with rape in Louisiana because he used his fingers to penetrate the child. However, under federal law, the same conduct will be considered rape.
Also in the complaint, it is said that Vicknair had the girl’s underwear in his possession when he was arrested. According to the New Orleans Police Department, in September, Vicknair was arrested at his home in St. Tammany Paris “after an internal investigation resulted in a warrant being released for his arrest.”
According to the statement, he was put on immediate suspension and officially “separated” from the Police Department in January. The department said that it had approached the FBI about “potential civil rights violations.”
Superintendent of Police Shaun D. Ferguson said in the statement, “As I stated from the moment this was brought to my attention, this type of alleged behavior will not be condoned or tolerated,” he explained, “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 stated that Vicknair was a “singularly bad choice” to assist a child victim of rape since he was not a member of the New Orleans Police Department’s special victims or child abuse units, and he had a history of complaints alleging unprofessional and illegal conduct, including predatory behavior towards women.
In one instance, he used police equipment to collect personal details from a woman’s license plate number and called her name in a grocery store parking lot. For the crime, he received a five-day suspension and a letter of reprimand in his file.