A Minneapolis police officer is accused of felony charges for allegedly sexually assaulting an unconscious woman with whom he was out drinking ealier that night.
A warrant was issued Wednesday for the arrest of Thomas Robert Tichich, the same day charges of third- and fourth-degree criminal sexual were filed in Hennepin County District Court.
Tichich, 47, was booked into the Hennepin County jail about 1 a.m. Thursday ahead of a court appearance scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Thursday, jail records show. Tichich is on paid administrative leave from the department.
Bail was set at $50,000.
Tichich is accused of sexually assaulting a woman on the morning of Dec. 15 after they had been out drinking the night before, according the criminal complaint.
Tichich and the victim were with another woman who invited them to spend the night at her home in northeast Minneapolis to avoid driving drunk.
At the woman’s home, the victim passed out on a large living room couch. The woman went to sleep in an upstairs bedroom and told Tichich to sleep on a smaller living room couch. The woman woke up later to find Tichich in her bed touching her arm. The woman told Tichich to leave the room.
A while later, the woman, unable to sleep, went downstairs to find Tichich naked and standing over the victim sleeping on the large couch and attempting a sex act. She took photographs using her cellphone, then kicked Tichich out of her house and called police, the criminal complaint states.
When officers arrived, they used a “pressure point technique” to awaken the still-unconscious victim. The victim said she was confused and had not consented to anything sexual with Tichich, the complaint said.
The victim, who underwent a sexual assault examination, said she had not had any prior romantic or sexual history with Tichich and that a sexual encounter had not been discussed anytime that night or on any other occasion.
The next day, Tichich e-mailed the woman, apologizing for his drunkenness and asking if he had left his cellphone behind.
Tichich’s lawyer, Peter Wold, said his client, who was not on duty or representing himself as a police officer at the time, regrets any disrespect the case has brought on the Minneapolis Police Department, and that whatever happened was consensual.
“He is not pleading guilty,” Wold said. “They were single adults at a bar scene and there was nothing that was not consensual. Hopefully a jury will agree with that. We are anxious to move along and get this behind him.”
If convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, Tichich faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. The charges of fourth-degree carries a possible sentence of 10 years in jail and/or a fine of $20,000.