published Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Erlanger rape charge sent to grand jury

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    Franklin Concepcion, 25, of Ringgold faces a rape charge after he allegedly took a woman from Erlanger hospital's emergency room and sexually assaulted her in an x-ray room. Concepcion works as a technician at the hospital, according to a Chattanooga Police Department arrest report.

A sessions court judge called a rape allegation against a former Erlanger employee “one of the most difficult” cases she’d seen before sending the charge to the grand jury Tuesday.

Judge Christie Mahn Sell ruled that evidence presented by prosecutor Lila Statom met the low burden of probable cause but also lowered the man’s bond amount from $150,000 to $10,000.

Franklin Concepcion, 25, of Ringgold, Ga. has been charged with rape following an alleged assault on Nov. 9, 2011 while he worked as a technician at the hospital.

At the end of the 2-hour hearing Tuesday, Concepcion’s attorney, Meredith Ziebold, argued that she had disproved any probable cause against her client.

“The evidence is shay at best, it’s something that might not even make it out of the grand jury,” Ziebold told the judge.

The grand jury hears cases bound over by sessions court judges on probable cause and decides if there is enough evidence to indict. It typically takes at six weeks or more before a case has reached the grand jury for review.

The alleged victim, a 25-year-old woman, testified during the Tuesday hearing that Concepcion began talking with her shortly after she arrived at the hospital for a nose injury.

She said he took her into a room on the second floor and performed sex acts on her. Police took samples of DNA evidence left at the scene. The DNA later proved a match to Concepcion.

It is Times Free Press policy not to identify sex crime victims by name.

Concepcion, still in custody during the hearing, testified that he talked with the woman and the pair went for a walk and talked about sex then mutually masturbated each other in the room and the acts were consensual.

Statom seemed confounded by Concepcion’s version of events.

“Would you say it’s routine to have a form of sex with an individual 20 minutes after you first laid eyes on them?” she asked Concepcion. He said no.

Ziebold argued that video footage and two 911 calls by the victim show her with a calm demeanor shortly after the alleged incident. She also noted four calls from the alleged victim to Concepion, that last of which was an hour after the incident and before she called police.

Contact staff writer Todd South at tsouth@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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