Dunlap man charged with child rape

Dakota A. Waldrop
photo Dakota A. Waldrop

A 22-year-old Dunlap, Tenn., man was arrested Wednesday on a charge of child rape.

Dakota A. Waldrop is charged with one count of rape of a child, but more charges are likely involving the same victim, Dunlap Police Chief Clint Huth said Friday.

The victim is a girl under the age of 13, Huth said. Waldrop is an acquaintance of the victim's family, he said.

Huth said the abuse happened back in November but only came to light a couple of weeks ago.

"When we first got wind of this, one of the first things we did was take the victim to the Child Advocacy Center in Chattanooga and we did a forensic interview with the victim," Huth said. "The day that we arrested him, we interviewed him."

The chief said there "were a lot of similarities" between the victim's and suspect's statements.

The investigation is continuing, but Huth said there was no indication so far that there is more than one victim.

But Huth also said additional victims have not been ruled out.

Waldrop has had trouble with the law before.

"We have arrested him six times since he's turned 18," Huth said.

Waldrop's previous charges include domestic assault, disorderly conduct, shoplifting, criminal trespassing and criminal impersonation, the chief said. Huth said a couple of those prior cases have not yet been disposed of in court.

Waldrop appeared in Dunlap General Sessions Court on Wednesday but Judge Tommy Austin did not set a bond. The 12th Judicial District Public Defender's office was appointed to represent Waldrop, Huth said.

Public Defender B. Jeffery Harmon was in court Friday and could not be reached for comment.

Assistant District Attorney Steve Strain said Friday that a preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 14. If the case is bound over, it will likely be presented to the Sequatchie County grand jury in September. Any additional evidence would be presented then, Strain said.

Meanwhile, anyone with any information regarding the investigation is urged to call the Dunlap Police Department at 423-949-3319.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.