A former Lincoln police officer who left the department under the cloud of a sexual assault allegation made his first court appearance Thursday by video from jail.
Gregory Cody, 54, wore blue jail clothes and said little in the brief hearing.
The prosecutor, Dan Zieg, read the charges to Cody, who said he understood. He bonded out of jail soon after.
A day earlier, the Lancaster County attorney’s office filed a warrant for Cody's arrest on a charge of first-degree sexual assault of a person mentally or physically incapable of resisting. He is accused of using his position of authority to coerce a mentally ill woman into a sexual relationship that lasted more than a year.
Cody’s attorney, John Ball, said Cody turned himself in at the jail 45 minutes after being told of the warrant and wasn’t a flight risk.
“The allegations he strongly disputes,” Ball said in court Thursday, arguing for a $50,000 bond.
He said Cody no longer is a police officer — he retired as a result of the allegations — and is not a danger to the community.
Zieg asked for a $250,000 bond, saying the alleged assaults happened numerous times and that Cody "was in a position of power and authority over her as a police officer.” It's charged as an aggravated offense, he said.
Lancaster County Judge Timothy Phillips set bond at $150,000 and ordered Cody to have no contact with his accuser. Cody needed to pay 10 percent, or $15,000, to be released from jail.
His family went directly to the clerk’s office to post his bond, and he was released by 4:30 p.m.
In a nine-page affidavit, a Nebraska State Patrol investigator said Cody's accuser, a 30-year-old Lincoln woman, described more than a year's worth of interactions with Cody, including about 50 incidents of sexual encounters that she described as forced, most of which occurred while he was on duty.
She said it began in July 2016, after Cody released her from custody rather than take her into emergency protective custody and said she would "owe him."
According to court records, she had told several friends, health care workers and at least one Lincoln police sergeant and one officer she was being stalked and abused by an officer before any formal investigation began.
The police department placed Cody on unpaid administrative leave Oct. 18. He retired two days later and will receive about $1,965 per month through his pension with the city. Some of that money he contributed himself; some was matched by the city.
Another officer was put on unpaid, investigative suspension and soon resigned.
Police have not released that officer's name, but a personnel change-in-status form shows Joseph Keiser resigned Oct. 30 from the Lincoln Police Department after being placed on unpaid investigative suspension.
Court records say Cody's accuser had told an unnamed officer that she was being sexually assaulted by a Lincoln police officer who had threatened to have her put in emergency protective custody if she didn't comply. She told him it was Cody.
The officer told her how to report the allegation to Internal Affairs and suggested she contact the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office or Nebraska State Patrol. But he didn't come forward to anyone in the police department until after Chief Jeff Bliemeister sent an internal memo that Cody was being investigated.