LINCOLN - A former Lincoln police officer was sentenced Thursday to 12 to 16 years in prison after being found guilty of first-degree sexual assault.
Lancaster County District Judge Kevin McManaman also ordered Gregory S. Cody, 56, to register as a sex offender. Under Nebraska sentencing guidelines, Cody must serve at least half the lower term before he is eligible for parole.
Cody told investigators that his relationship with the woman in the case was consensual. His attorney, John Ball of Lincoln, said after the sentencing hearing that he “absolutely plans to appeal” the verdict.
“An innocent man went to prison today, and that should make everyone’s blood run cold,” Ball said.
In 2017, a woman who then was 30 years old told Lincoln police that Cody coerced her into having sex with him about 65 times over a year and a half. The woman said she feared that Cody would place her in emergency protective custody if she refused. People can be placed in emergency custody if they are considered mentally ill or a danger.
Early in the morning of Oct. 17, the woman was taken to Bryan Medical Center’s west campus after she was found by officers near 70th Street and Pioneers Boulevard. She said she was intoxicated and fell from a backstop at a baseball field. Later that day, she told a doctor that she was being sexually abused by a police officer.
Prosecutors said Cody, wearing his uniform, arrived at the hospital about 7 p.m. and spoke to the woman and her nurse. The nurse noticed that the woman became anxious and upset when he left and told officials that the woman said he had sexually assaulted her in the past.
The woman told authorities that she first came into contact with Cody in July 2016. She had been released from police custody instead of being placed in emergency protective custody. Such a placement would have meant that she would be taken to jail or to a medical facility to be evaluated.
The woman said Cody told her that she would “owe him” for not placing her in emergency custody.