Chattanooga's police chief blasts Gatlinburg detective for Ooltewah rape testimony

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher speaks at a news conference at the Police Services Center on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn., in the aftermath of a Tuesday night shooting in the 800 block of North Willow Street that killed 20-year-old Frederick Jordan Clark.
photo A screenshot showing a post by Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher blasting a Gatlinburg detective for what Fletcher saw as minimizing what happened to the victim of the Ooltewah rape.

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher responded this morning on his personal Facebook page saying what allegedly happened to an Ooltewah High School freshman constitutes rape.

"Not simply hazing, or bullying, or teasing, or horseplay. Rape. A violent crime," Fletcher wrote.

Fletcher's post is in response to Gatlinburg Police Detective Rodney Burns' testimony yesterday in Hamilton County Juvenile Court, where he said what happened to the Ooltewah 15-year-old was assault, not rape.

According to court documents, the attack on Dec. 22 resulted in the boy being rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery to repair his bladder and colon which were ruptured by a pool cue.

Three former Ooltewah students are charged in Sevier County with aggravated rape and aggravated assault in connection with this case.

But Burns said the boys who allegedly committed this attack received no sexual gratification from the act, and the assault wasn't sexual in nature.

Burns referred to what happened as "something stupid kids do."

Fletcher wrote in his post that "the allegations and charges clearly constitute rape."

"For anyone, including a police officer, to suggest otherwise minimizes the severity of this incident, the experience of the victim and, ultimately, makes life more dangerous for current and future victims," Fletcher wrote.

In the post, Fletcher cites Tennessee Law, which he says is very clear on what constitutes rape.

He writes that rape is the sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or of the defendant in any of the following circumstances:

  1. Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act
  2. The sexual penetration is accomplished without the consent of the victim
  3. "Sexual penetration" means sexual intercourse or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person's body or of any object into the genital or anal openings of the victim.