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Baton Rouge police officer turns himself in after allegedly groping woman during traffic stop

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BATON ROUGE - Officer Donald Steele turned himself in to authorities Wednesday morning, a day after a warrant was filed for his arrest.

This came after Steele was accused of luring a college student to a secluded location during a traffic stop in June, making sexual advances toward her and even grabbing her breasts at one point. 

Steele's attorney, Franz Borghardt, said his client maintains that the encounter was entirely consensual.

"Officer Steele turned himself in this morning to the arresting agency. My client maintains his innocence of these allegations and that the exchange between him and the accuser was consensual," Borghardt's statement read.

Ron Haley, an attorney representing the victim, said there's plenty of evidence supporting the allegations.

"It's not just the fact that officer Steele turned off his body cam. It is not that Officer Steele gave means to have her follow him after the stop. We can look at the text messages that were sent from my client's phone to a third party as the incident is taking place in real time to show that this is not consensual," Haley said.

Records go on to say Steele told the victim to follow him to the airport and threatened to hold a DWI charge over her if she refused. The victim said she complied with Steele out of fear of being arrested.

"Make no mistake. In this case, it was the badge that influenced the decisions of our client," Haley said.

Steele was booked into jail Wednesday morning on charges of malfeasance, sexual battery and kidnapping. He bonded out later that same day.

Steele is currently on administrative leave from the Baton Rouge Police Department.


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