Local News

Ex-Trooper Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping, Extortion

Posted April 22, 2008 4:51 p.m. EDT
Updated April 22, 2008 9:32 p.m. EDT

— A former state trooper pleaded guilty Tuesday to 10 charges, including kidnapping, extortion and sexual battery.

Michael A. Steele resigned last September amid allegations of inappropriate behavior during traffic stops with three women over a 10-day period in August.

Steele's sentencing is scheduled for May 20.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said Steele made sexual advances toward the women and threats that included killing one's husband and her children.

Woodall said Steele targeted women he thought were Hispanic and in the country illegally so they would not report him.

According to indictments, Steele allegedly threatened to turn another woman over to immigration authorities "with the intent wrongfully to obtain physical contact, through kissing and touching of her breasts."

Steele had been with the North Carolina Highway Patrol since April 2004 and patrolled in Orange County from the Hillsborough substation.