Following a nearly two month investigation, the chief of police of a southwest Iowa town and his assistant were charged today with sexually assaulting a female bartender.
Creston Police Chief James Christensen and assistant chief John Sickels turned themselves into to at the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation headquarters in Des Moines.
John Quinn, the assistant director of the state DCI, says the allegations stem from an incident during the early morning hours of April 18 at the Crestmoore Country Club in Creston. Quinn did not talk about specifics of the case, but a court document indicates that Christiansen held the employee against her will while Sickels had sexual intercourse with the woman.
Quinn says he can’t recall another case in Iowa in recent history where police officers have faced such serious charges. “People make bad judgments and error and consequently, law enforcement officers are not exempt from that,” Quinn said. “One thing I will say is that when officers make mistakes, make bad errors in judgment, they will be held accountable.”
Both men are charged with second-degree sex abuse, which is punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Quinn hopes other police officers in Iowa aren’t abusing their authority.
“I’m hoping it’s an isolated incident,” Quinn said. “Officers are out there putting their lives on the line trying to make Iowa a safe place to live. I’m proud to work in the state of Iowa and I’m proud of the law enforcement in the state…so, I’m hoping this is an isolated incident.” Christiansen who is 38-years-old, and Sickels who is 40, were booked in the Polk County Jail on $25,000 bond each. Their preliminary court appearances are scheduled for June 16 at 1 p.m. in Union County.