After pleading guilty to deprivation of rights under color of law, a former Texas police chief was recently sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. In addition to threatening a man at gunpoint, the former police chief coerced another victim into engaging in sex acts with the other individual for his own amusement.
In November 2017, former Acting Chief of Olney, Texas, Robert Michael Cross, arrested two people for aggravated robbery offenses. In exchange for dismissing the criminal cases against them, Chief Cross coerced the two individuals into engaging in sexual acts in front of him.
On December 20, 2017, Cross took them out to Wichita Falls in his vehicle to eat dinner and catch a movie. That evening, he brandished a pistol, threatening one victim with bodily injury and coercing the victim to engage in sex acts with another individual, thereby willfully depriving the victim of the Constitutional right to be free from unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer.
In early 2018, a woman in a separate case was allegedly told by Cross that he would release her husband from jail in exchange for nude photos of her. In March 2018, Cross resigned from the Olney Police Department after being arrested on a count of official oppression in that case. The status of that case remains unclear.
In October 2019, Cross pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights under color of law for threatening an individual at gunpoint.
“The city of Olney deserves police officers with respect for the rule of law,” stated U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox in a recent press release. “Instead, this defendant abused his power, stripping citizens of their dignity for his own perverse ends. We are gratified he has been held to account for his despicable behavior.”
“Law enforcement officers are responsible for upholding the law and protecting their communities from harm. The defendant used his position of authority to prey on vulnerable individuals and exploit them for his personal gain,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno. “The FBI is committed to preserving trust in law enforcement. We will criminally pursue any officer that violates the law and abuses their oath to protect and serve.”
Earlier this week, Cross was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for deprivation of rights under color of law for threatening an individual at gunpoint.