The Minneapolis police officer accused of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman took the stand in his own defense Tuesday in a Hennepin County courtroom.
Thomas Tichich, 49, denied that he took advantage of a woman who prosecutors say was passed out after having too much to drink one night in December of 2016. Tichich said the woman consented to have sexual contact with him on the couch of a northeast Minneapolis home where the woman's friend lived.
However, the friend, who had been out drinking with the alleged victim and Tichich earlier in the evening, said she saw the officer trying to force her friend into a sex act while the woman was passed out.
The woman snapped a few pictures and yelled at Tichich to get out of her house.
"I was completely surprised," said Tichich. He added that he scrambled to grab his clothes and get out. He left his cell phone, a sock and boots behind.
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Patrick Lofton asked Tichich why, if the alleged victim was awake, didn't she simply tell her friend to calm down? Lofton asked why the alleged victim didn't tell her friend that the contact was consensual. Tichich said he didn't see what the woman was doing while he scrambled to get his clothes and get out.
• Prosecutor: 'He persisted with someone who couldn't say no'
Tichich, a former Marine, joined the Minneapolis police force in 2006. During his time on the force, Tichich has worked primarily on the city's northeast side. And he worked off duty security at the northeast Minneapolis bar where he and the alleged victim were drinking on the night of Dec. 14, 2016. He was off duty and not wearing his uniform that night.
"Are you proud of that night?" asked defense attorney Peter Wold.
"Not particularly," said Tichich. "I know I'm held to a higher standard."
The alleged victim has said she doesn't remember what happened that night.
Tichich is facing third degree criminal sexual conduct and attempted third degree sexual conduct. If convicted of either felony charge, he will no longer be able to be a licensed peace officer in Minnesota.