Fort Worth officer fired, accused of sexually abusing stepdaughter

Posted Friday, May. 10, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A 20-year Fort Worth police veteran was fired last month after internal investigators concluded that he had sexually abused a stepdaughter for years, beginning when she was a minor, according to documents obtained Thursday by the Star-Telegram.

Michael P. Osborn, 48, is appealing his indefinite suspension, which took effect April 19.

“I am very confident once we do have an arbitration in front of a neutral fact-finder that Mr. Osborn will be cleared and he’ll be reinstated,” said his attorney, Vincent Wisely of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas.

The woman, now in her late 20s, is no longer Osborn’s stepdaughter.

The internal investigation was sparked after Osborn was arrested in September on allegations that he assaulted his current wife at their Erath County home.

It is not clear when Osborn married his current wife.

During that investigation, allegations surfaced that Osborn had repeatedly sexually assaulted a stepdaughter in 2000, 2001 and 2009, according to a disciplinary letter filed last month with the Civil Service Commission. The alleged abuse started when the girl was around 15.

Osborn has said he did not physically abuse his current wife or sexually abuse his stepdaughter, the letter states.

A grand jury declined to indict Osborn in the alleged sexual abuse, which occurred in Hood County. But Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead fired him based on an internal affairs investigation that concluded Osborn had engaged in criminal acts and lied to cover them up.

“His arrest brought about an investigation that uncovered years of abuse with multiple victims,” states the letter, signed by Halstead.

“When Officer Osborn was questioned by Internal Affairs, Officer Osborn again attempted to subvert justice by being deceptive and untruthful in his answers.”

The letter was released to the Star-Telegram on Thursday afternoon as the result of an open-records request filed April 22.

Osborn’s September arrest

Osborn was arrested Sept. 6 after his current wife called 911 to report that he had assaulted her during an argument at their Erath County home.

According to the disciplinary letter, Osborn was accused of grabbing the woman by the hair and shoving her into a bedroom.

Erath County officials said Osborn was charged with Class C misdemeanor assault by contact. That charge was still pending Friday.

The letter states that in a March interview with internal affairs Sgt. S.J. Benjamin, Osborn denied assaulting his wife and sexually abusing his former stepdaughter. He accused former and current relatives, as well as an Erath County sheriff’s deputy, of lying, the letter states.

“Officer Osborn made numerous denials in regards to the allegations made by those closest to him in his life,” the letter states. “Officer Osborn accused everyone who made comments regarding him of lying. … When I read what everyone else reports about him though, I see a consistent pattern of behavior, verified through numerous statements from people over a period of years that contradicts his denials.”

Osborn did admit that he accessed his stepdaughter’s laptop in 2009 and downloaded nude photos of her onto a thumb drive, the letter states.

It alleges that Osborn then texted his former stepdaughter, threatening to disclose the photos to gain her sexual compliance.

Osborn told internal investigators that he did not find his former stepdaughter attractive until after he found the photos.

“Officer Osborn said that once she rejected his advances, his sexual interest subsided,” the letter states.

When asked what should happen to a man who has sex with his stepdaughter, Osborn told Benjamin, “If it’s against the law, and he’s, I guess, indicted, he’s got to go to jail for it.”

Previous outcry

The stepdaughter first made an outcry around 2001, the letter states.

“Osborn was faced with the prospect of answering for his actions but instead, denied his victim justice by way of intimidation and deception,” the letter states. “Officer Osborn managed to subvert justice, and even get legal action pursued against his victim, only to then resume the sexually inappropriate behavior once his victim has been disgraced. This behavior is atrocious, intolerable and unforgivable.”

The letter did not elaborate on how Osborn subverted justice.

Hood County District Attorney Rob Christian said Friday that the Sheriff’s Department investigated the 2001 outcry but that the case was later closed.

“She recanted and the investigator never presented the case to the DA’s office,” Christian said.

Christian said that when the allegations resurfaced after Osborn’s arrest in September, a team of district attorney and sheriff’s investigators looked into the case again.

“They tried to shore up elements as much as they could,” Christian said. “The case was presented to the grand jury, and he was no-billed.”

The letter says Fort Worth internal affairs investigators thoroughly looked into the stepdaughter’s past and found that her account to family and friends had been consistent through the years.

“The testimony of everyone involved, combined with the evidence uncovered during the investigation, indicated to me clearly that Officer Osborn engaged in criminal acts,” the letter states.

Investigators noted that the results of polygraph tests given to Osborn and his stepdaughter added to their findings. City officials, however, redacted those findings, citing state law preventing them from disclosing the test results.

Osborn had been with the department since December 1992.

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655 Twitter: @deannaboyd

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