A New Orleans police officer has been accused of molesting an underage girl, whose sexual assault case he was investigating, authorities said. The incident has left the other officers within the department shocked, while the girl is in a state of severe trauma. The officer apparently used to frequently send text messages to the minor girl and often fondle her breasts during investigation.

Rodney Vicknair, 53, was arrested on Friday and has been charged with sexual battery and indecent behavior with an underage girl. He was taken into custody without any incident and the police is investigating the case. He has also been suspended from his job for the time being.

Dirty Mindset

Rodney Vicknair
Rodney Vicknair would sext the girl how attractive she was and how much she aroused him St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Off

Vicknair, who is a veteran in the New Orleans Police Department, has been accused of fondling the breasts and genitals of a 15-year-old girl while he was investigating allegations of the girl being sexually assaulted by someone else. Initially, Vicknair was quite normal but slowly changed his attitude.

He allegedly started texting the underage girl and started visiting her house on some or the other pretext while not on the job. He would also tell her how beautiful she was and how much she aroused him, a source told the website nola.com on conditions of anonymity. "Allegations against one of our own involving a juvenile is reprehensible," Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said in a statement.

Following this, Vicknair was arrested and an investigation was initiated. The girl reportedly is in trauma following the repeated sexual abuse.

Caught by His Own Department

Rape representational image
Image for representational purpose only

The girl despite the repeated sexual assaults by Vicknair didn't say anything, as she was already recovering from the shock of the earlier assault. However, the New Orleans Police Department's Public Integrity Bureau received a tip that Vicknair was involved in an "inappropriate relationship" with a minor, police said.

An investigation was launched immediately and the allegations proved to be authentic. He is now in St. Tammany Parish home and charged with sexual battery, indecent behavior with a juvenile and malfeasance in office. He has also been suspended from the job pending outcome of the criminal charges, New Orleans police said in a statement.

"Upon learning of the situation, the NOPD took swift action against the accused officer. New Orleans police officers are held to a higher standard. We will not tolerate behavior that compromises the public trust or violates the law." However, the department hasn't specified what kind of investigation about sexual assault was Vicknair conducting.

Vicknair spent 19 years working as an emergency medical technician before joining New Orleans police, according to the department's website. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in jail.