Former Olney Police Chief pleads guilty
The city of Olney’s former Acting Police Chief, Robert Michael Cross, pleaded guilty to threatening an individual at gunpoint last Tuesday following an investigation by the FBI Dallas Field Office.
The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, Erin Nealy Cox, released the information regarding the plea Tuesday, Oct. 23. Cross pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights under the color of law, which means acts done within his lawful authority or while “pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties,” depriving a person of a right or privilege under U.S. laws and those protected by the constitution, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
“This was a despicable abuse of power,” Cox wrote in the release. “The public should be assured that we will not hesitate to hold the defendant accountable.”
Cross, 35, was first arrested Wednesday, March 21, 2018, on a charge of official oppression and tendered his resignation the same day. He was taken into custody by Texas Ranger Toby Catlin, who was in charge of the investigation and interview of the victim.
According to the arrest complaint filed with the office of Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Robert Dial, this incident happened around Feb. 7, 2018, when Cross allegedly sexually harassed the victim. He was released one day after being arrested on $2,500 bond. The Olney City Council accepted Cross’ resignation during an emergency board meeting Thursday, March 22, 2018, after discussing the matter in executive session.
Cross was arrested again Friday, May, 18, 2018, on felony charges for assaults in Young and Wichita counties. He was arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and a charge of sexual assault which were filed in Young County, and an additional charge of sexual assault was filed in Wichita County, where Cross was in custody on a $138,000 bond.
Cross admitted in his plea to coercing two individuals he arrested for aggravated robbery offenses, into conduct for his own benefit and promising to have their criminal cases dismissed if they followed his demands. Nearly a month after the arrest on Dec. 20, 2017, Cross took the individuals out to eat dinner and then went to a movie in his personal vehicle.
“That evening, he brandish a pistol, threatening one of the individuals with bodily injury and willfully depriving him of the Constitutional right to be free from unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer,” the release wrote.
In the arrest affidavit filed in Young County by Catlin, Cross made the front seat passenger perform a sexual act on his other passenger, while sexually assaulting the front seat passenger at the same time. He then drove the two individuals to their home.
Cross faces up to 10 years in federal prison and his sentencing is set for March 9, 2020. The FBI Dallas Field Office and Texas Rangers conducted the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Boudreau is prosecuting the case.