Former Spring Hill police officer Christopher Odom pleaded guilty to a criminal civil rights violation in federal court Tuesday.
Odom, 27, was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 26 for engaging in unwanted sexual contact while on duty as a police officer.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara E. Myers read aloud the evidence against Odom, which he admitted to during the hearing.
On or about the night of June 25, 2016, Odom pulled over a woman as she was leaving a restaurant at The Crossing of Spring Hill shopping center in Maury County. The victim was driving a friend, who was riding in the passenger seat.
Odom initiated a traffic stop and pulled the victim over, then told the victim he stopped her because her tag light was out and asked for her driver’s license.
The victim told Odom her license was suspended and she didn’t have one. Odom admitted he told the victim to write down her name, birthday and phone number, then went back to his patrol car and returned a short time later.
“When Mr. Odom returned, he asked the victim to get out of the car. Odom led her back to his patrol car, out of view of the car’s camera,” Myers said.
Odom admitted he then told the victim how sexy she was and tried to kiss her. The victim stopped him, then noticed he wasn’t wearing a name badge. When she asked his name, Odom gave a different name.
When Odom tried to kiss the victim again, she stopped him again, noting that people were driving by and her friend, still in the passenger seat of her car, could see them. Odom claimed his flashing lights would block her view.
“Mr. Odom then tried to put his hand down the victim’s pants, and she told him no,” Myers said. “Then he grabbed the victim’s hand and placed it on his penis.”
Odom also admitted he kept trying to kiss the victim, telling her he “wished he could get her in the back of his cop car right now,” Myers said.
Odom walked into Judge Aleta Trauger’s courtroom with handcuffs and leg shackles, wearing blue jeans, a black polo shirt and work boots.
Odom faces up to 12 months in prison and a $100,000 fine for the federal charge. Trauger set his sentencing date for March 9.
Before he was led out of the courtroom, Odom mouthed the words, “I love you,” to his wife.
“He’s pleading guilty because he is guilty, and can’t atone for what he did,” said John Colley III, Odom’s attorney, after the hearing.
“His military service, I think, is part of what caused him to behave this way. Other than this, he was a great officer with the police department and had a stellar record, but he’s got some issues that he needs help working out. I hope we come up with a plan…that addresses those issues but also punishes him for what he did wrong,” Colley said.
TBI began investigating the three-year-veteran officer on the allegations at the request of 22nd District Attorney General Brent Cooper last August.
Odom was indicted in 2016 by grand juries in Williamson and Maury counties on charges of rape, sexual battery and official misconduct, based on separate traffic stops on both sides of the county line in Spring Hill.
He’s currently serving a 120-day sentence at the Lewis County Jail in Hohenwald after pleading guilty to multiple charges in Maury County Circuit Court.
During TBI’s investigation last year, it discovered Odom was accused of raping another woman while on duty in Williamson County nearly a year before he was indicted on the federal charge.
Agents learned that on Sept. 19, 2015, Odom stopped a woman while on duty as a police officer, followed her home on the Williamson County side of Spring Hill, and forced her to engage in sexual contact with him, according to the TBI.
A Williamson County grand jury indicted Odom on Nov. 7 on two counts of rape and two counts of official misconduct. A jury trial for that case is scheduled for Nov. 27.
The Spring Hill Police Department first became aware of the allegations against Odom on July 30, 2016, and placed him on administrative leave two days later, said Spring Hill spokesman Jamie Page. Odom was officially fired from the department Oct. 3, 2016 when TBI took him into custody after its investigation.