A Las Vegas police sergeant groped one woman under her skirt and grabbed another woman’s underwear at a Christmas party with fellow officers, according to a newly released report.
Michael Souder was charged last month with two counts of open and gross lewdness, a gross misdemeanor. His attorney, Michael Cristalli, did not respond to requests for comment.
According to a report documenting the Metropolitan Police Department investigation, Souder attended the Christmas party on Dec. 21 at the home of another officer, who told detectives he remembered inviting about 30 people.
In an interview with detectives, one woman said she attended the party with an officer who works for Souder. The heavily redacted report suggests the woman is in a relationship with the officer. The woman told detectives that Souder was wearing a Christmas sweater with a lewd message on it.
The woman said she was standing with Souder during the party when he placed his hand underneath her skirt and groped her, according to the report. She said she then froze in shock.
“She didn’t want to be touched by him and did not invite him to touch her in any way,” the report states.
She said she then walked over to the officer who brought her to the party, and he asked, “Was he touching you?”
The woman told him only that Souder had touched her back, according to the report, because he appeared to be getting upset and she “did not want him to do anything stupid towards his supervisor.” The pair left the party about 10 minutes later.
It wasn’t until they got home that the woman told him exactly what had happened, according to the report. The pair were afraid to report the incident because the officer was still on probation, but peers advised them to report the matter immediately.
After interviewing the first woman, detectives interviewed a second woman, identified as an officer who works for Souder. That officer described being grabbed from behind by her hips.
“She then felt her thong get pulled as if someone was pulling up on it,” the report states. “She abruptly turned and noticed it was her sergeant, Michael Souder. She doesn’t have that type of personal relationship with him and didn’t know how to react because it was very odd and uncomfortable.”
The woman told detectives that another officer immediately stepped between her and Souder and pulled her away. She then told others at the party what had happened.
Another officer who attended the the party told police she saw Souder grab the woman. She also said the other woman told her at the party that Souder had groped her.
According to the report, the witness was “visibly shaken by the incident and scared of going back to work. She did not want to be around Sergeant Souder and was scared of the repercussions.”
Detectives later interviewed Souder outside his residence. During the interview, Souder denied touching anyone inappropriately.
“He then went on to say if he did, which he didn’t, he had zero recollection of it,” the report states.
Souder told detectives he had been drinking but did not drink “that much.” He later said he vomited toward the end of the party.
After Souder was charged and issued a summons, Metro released him with pay pending the outcome of his case. According to a department roster, Souder started with Metro in June 2001.
Souder is scheduled to appear in Las Vegas Justice Court for a preliminary hearing on May 14.