STILLWATER — A Payne County judge ruled Wednesday that a former Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper accused of raping a woman while on duty will stand trial.
After reviewing testimony from a preliminary hearing Jan. 23 and written arguments from counsels, Special Judge R.L. Hert Jr. ruled Wednesday that there is enough evidence for Patrick Venable, 28, to face trial in district court on a count of second-
He is scheduled to appear for arraignment April 23 at the Logan County Courthouse. The change of venue to Stillwater for the preliminary hearing was agreed upon by both counsels, but the case remains in Logan County.
Venable, who has resigned from the patrol, is accused of taking a woman into custody about 4:35 a.m. June 20 on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, and then taking her to her house in Guthrie to have sex.
The woman testified she had been drinking at a family barbecue in Macomb and at a bar in Moore on June 20 before the trooper pulled her over on the Broadway Extension in Oklahoma City.
Venable asked her to get in his car and the two began talking, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Once inside the car, Venable turned off the vehicle's camera, according to the affidavit. Investigators said the sexual contact started in the car when Venable told the woman she was pretty and she returned the compliment.
The woman testified they went to her house in Guthrie. Venable said the sexual contact was “100 percent consensual,” according to the affidavit.
His attorney, Carl Hughes, argued at the preliminary hearing that the woman was not in custody and was free to leave when they arrived at her house. Hert ruled against Venable and said the victim was in his legal custody.
Hughes said he is disappointed with the ruling and will renew a motion to dismiss the case in district court.
Patrol Lt. Jason Holt testified in January that Venable was honest with investigators about the June 20 incident.
He said the former trooper also told them he has had sex several times while on duty.
Venable gave patrol investigators details about at least two other sexual encounters he had while he was working, Holt testified.