LINCOLN, Neb. - After a week and a half long trial, former Lincoln Police Officer Gregory Cody has been convicted of first degree sexual assault. The jury of eight men and four women handed down the verdict at 7:25 p.m. on Friday.
Final arguments wrapped up in Cody's first-degree sexual assault trial around 4:30 p.m.
The prosecutor argued that Cody was using and abusing his power as a police officer to threaten and coerce the victim into a sexual relationship.
"He's talked about the power that even his duty belt has," said prosecutor Amy Goodro. "He testified that all he has to do is move his hand to his taser to gain compliance as an officer. He knows with the slight movement of his hand he can gain control."
The defense argued that the relationship between Cody and the victim was completely consensual because there were several sexual encounters.
"If it weren't consensual, it would not have progressed in this way," said defense attorney John Ball. "Talking leads to joking which leads to flirting and then sex talk and oral sex which then leads to that sexual intercourse. If it weren't consensual, it would stay just friends."
Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister released the following statement:
"On June 21st, 2019, a Lancaster County jury rendered its verdict in the 1st Degree Sexual Assault trial of Gregory Cody.
The Lincoln Police Department does not tolerate employee conduct that violates our General Orders, Code of Ethics, and in general, our philosophy of policing in partnership with the public.
From the moment that the Lincoln Police Department became aware of the criminal allegations against Gregory Cody, we fully cooperated with the Nebraska State Patrol’s investigation and the criminal justice
process. In addition, LPD immediately placed then-Officer Cody on investigative suspension and initiated an internal investigation. Cody resigned two days later, but LPD continued its internal processes. The Lincoln Police Department’s internal investigation found that Cody had violated LPD’s policies and Code of Ethics, as well as failed to protect a vulnerable member of our community.
The Lincoln Police Department provided numerous updates to the public about its internal investigation in 2017 and 2018. Moreover, LPD also solicited input from community leaders in Lincoln. We analyzed our vetting practices, including the background investigation process, psychological exam, and polygraph.
In response to the investigative findings, LPD enhanced supervisory oversight, modified its General Orders, and re-affirmed expectations with personnel about ethical and professional conduct in every aspect of their duties and responsibilities. LPD also mandated training for all personnel concerning ethical interactions with those we serve, as well as expanded future ongoing education.
The actions of one person do not define the cornerstones of our department’s culture, namely, dedicated public service, community partnerships, and fair and impartial policing."
Final arguments started around 2 p.m. on Thursday and lasted 2 1/2 hours. At 4:30, the judge instructed the jury to deliberate. The jury was back at it at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, before reaching their verdict at 7:00 p.m.
Cody will be sentenced August 29, 2019. He faces up to 50 years in prison.