Geary, OK – A police officer was recently arrested and fired after a battered woman escaped from his car and called 911, claiming that she met him online and he paid for her plane ticket to visit him, but she quickly learned he was abusive and dangerous.
The woman, who is from Miami, claimed that she had a short online relationship with Officer James Otterbine, 32. During that time, he lured her to fly to his house in Oklahoma to stay with him, and as the days passed, he became increasingly violent with her.
According to a press release issued by the Canadian County Sheriff's Office:
"Over the course of the past several weeks, Otterbine became progressively physically violent and had even duct taped and handcuffed her to a chair during an argument. The victim also stated that during another incident Otterbine had bound and locked her in the basement with the lights turned off. The emotionally distraught girl stated Otterbine had threatened her life on several occasions, and had even threatened to shoot her, and then kill himself."
During interrogations, Otterbine admitted to assaulting the woman in front of his 10-year-old son.
Otterbine's abuse got increasingly worse until the woman made a desperate attempt at escape after he locked her in his car during an argument. While locked in the car, the woman dialed 911, but the dispatcher could only hear her pleading to be let out and could not clearly hear or understand most of the call. However, the call was traced and police were able to identify the victim and then contacted her family to find Otterbine's address.
When Otterbine stopped the car, the victim escaped and ran to a local bank where she called 911 again to tell them that she escaped.
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"Fortunately, the traumatized (woman) had the presence of mind to run for help after Otterbine got to his residence, and the pair exited the vehicle," Canadian County Sheriff, Chris West said.
“When investigators informed me of the details this poor girl had lived through, I was absolutely mortified, but elated she had survived,” he added.
Otterbine told investigators that his abuse of the woman was "consensual" and that she "liked rough sex," but admitted to hitting her during arguments which he called "spats." However, the victim disputes these claims, stating that none of the abuse was in any way consensual.
According to Terryl Allen, public information officer for the Geary Police Department, Otterbine had not been working for the past several weeks due to a medical condition, and he is also currently filing a lawsuit against the city for an unknown reason.
Otterbine was charged with kidnapping and domestic abuse in the presence of a child, but his bond was set at just $30,000.
Unfortunately, domestic violence is a serious problem among police officers, and in most cases, they never see any consequences. According to recent studies, law enforcement officers beat their wives or girlfriends at nearly double the rate of the rest of the population.
Several studies, according to Diane Wetendorf, author of Police Domestic Violence: Handbook for Victims, indicate that women suffer domestic abuse in at least 40 percent of police officer families. For American women overall, the figure is 25 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to The Advocates for Human Rights Organization, studies indicate that the families of police officers are 2-4 times more likely than the general population to experience domestic violence, making the potential for disparities in protective success particularly troubling. Many times police get off with a slap on the wrist in domestic violence cases because of their position, and although Otterbine was arrested, his charges and his bond are likely not on par with what the average citizen would receive if they were in the same position.