A police officer has been accused of grooming a 15-year-old girl to “gain her trust,” as well as several instances of assault and harassment. Rodney Vicknair allegedly met the underage girl that he would go on to sexually assault and groom when he was an officer with the New Orleans Police Department.
The NOPD officer waited with the 15-year-old in the emergency room and allegedly showed her “modeling” pictures on his phone of another teenage girl who he claimed to be his daughter posing in lingerie and bikinis. According to the lawsuit that was filed by the girl’s mother, the police department veteran wasn’t part of a unit for special victims of child abuse. Vicknair also had prior complaints against him before the lawsuit.
Rodney Vicknair Arrested
When the rape victim was released from the hospital, Vicknair allegedly spent the next four months gaining her trust, sexually harassing her, and then eventually sexually abusing her. On two occasions the police officer raped the girl by inserting his fingers into her vagina while they were inside his police vehicle. According to Hope Pleps, an attorney with Most & Associates and one of the lawyers who filed a lawsuit, “He preyed on a single mother and her young daughter, a rape survivor, by positioning himself as a role model and protective male figure in their lives. He then used that position to create distrust between them, isolating his target from her mother. He escalated from sexualizing the young girl to sexual assault and rape.”
The second alleged rape occurred after an independent oversight agency and police had been alerted of his inappropriate conduct. Both times, he was armed with his service weapon. According to Vice, in Louisiana, what Vicknair is accused of (penetrating the teenage girl with his fingers) doesn’t fall under the legal definition of “rape,”, which the state has limited to non-consensual sexual intercourse. But, attorneys wrote in the lawsuit, that “this archaic definition does not reflect rape as a crime against bodily integrity—it reflects a culture that blames survivors for the crimes that are committed against them and finds any excuse to be lenient with rapists.”
Vicknair Previously Disciplined 4 Times
The lawsuit names New Orleans police superintendent Shaun Ferguson, Vicknair, and the city itself as the defendants. When Vicknair was arrested back in September 2020, he was allegedly still in possession of the girl’s underwear. He was then fired from the police department and the agency has contacted the FBI about any potential civil violation. Vicknair is facing one count each of sexual battery, indecent behavior with a juvenile and malfeasance, or abusing his position as a public servant. All felonies can collectively carry as long as 23 years in prison upon conviction.