5th woman comes forward as 17-year minimum rape sentence sought for former Chattanooga officer

Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Attorney Sam Byrd and his client former Chattanooga police officer Desmond Logan walk across Georgia Avenue before entering the Joel W. Solomon Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse Thursday, September 12, 2019 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Logan reached a plea agreement last week, in which he admitted to raping three women in his custody between 2015 and 2018 as well as shooting a Taser at a fourth woman.

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to hand down a sentence of at least 17 years in prison for Desmond Ladon Logan, the former Chattanooga police officer who admitted to raping three women in his custody and using a Taser on a fourth woman.

A fifth woman - someone Logan personally knew - has since come forward, alleging Logan committed a rape outside his duty as a police officer. That woman went on to become a police officer herself.

"[I] can't imagine abusing my authority," she wrote in her victim impact statement, attached to a sentencing memorandum filed Tuesday evening.

In his agreement with prosecutors, Logan pleaded guilty to two counts of deprivation of civil rights for the rapes of two women. He also admitted to two additional assaults as part of the agreement, and the latest victim's case "establishes that the defendant's predatory behavior was not confined to his actions as a police officer," prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

The agreement, they said, holds Logan publicly accountable for the assaults. In exchange, he faces no federal charges in the remaining three cases. The arrangement would also spare the victims of having to endure a trial, prosecutors noted.

The charged offenses

In the early morning hours of June 12, 2018, Logan arrested a woman identified as K.B.V. in court documents. Instead of taking her to the Hamilton County Jail, he drove her in his squad car to an empty and isolated parking lot and raped her.

The woman later reported the assault to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, though the FBI ultimately took over the investigation.

The second offense for which Logan is charged took place on the evening of Jan. 2, 2016.

Logan was working security at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga when he asked a woman - identified in court records as D.H. - to drive him to his car, which he claimed was parked in a different lot.

He then directed her to an empty, isolated parking lot where he took out his Taser and put it against her leg. When she tried to escape, Logan "prevented her from doing so, making D.H. believe that he was going to rape and possibly kill her," prosecutors wrote.

"I was barely afraid of anything before this happened to me, and now I am afraid to get out on the street by myself," the woman wrote in her victim impact statement.

She stopped cooking for her family. She's afraid to go on walks alone. She's afraid of law enforcement, a group she was raised to trust and respect, she said, and Logan took that trust away from her.

She sometimes falls into deep pits of depression, her statement says, and she can't always afford her medication, so she's had to go on Medicare.

But, she noted, Logan's admitted crimes have not affected only her.

"Look at what he has done to his family, to the people he raped and assaulted, look at what he's done to his police officer colleagues?" she wrote. "Does he want his little boy to grow up and be like him?"

The woman pleaded for the court to impose a lengthy sentence. That way, she said, "he cannot have an impact on his son. This way he'll be away from his son. He could have been a huge influence on his son as a police officer. What child wouldn't be proud of his police officer dad? And I hope he has to sit in a jail every day and think about his little boy."

The uncharged offenses

Logan's admitted offenses date back to 2015, with the earliest known violation taking place on the night of July 31, 2015.

As with victims that would follow, Logan arrested a woman - identified as T.L. - and instead of taking her to jail, he took her to a secluded area where he raped her, prosecutors wrote.

photo Bradley County Sheriff Department/ Desmond Logan

That victim immediately reported the sexual assault to the Chattanooga Police Department and underwent a rape exam, prosecutors noted. That evidence remained untested by CPD until years later, when the 2018 case was reported and the FBI launched its investigation, prosecutors noted.

Chattanooga police investigators looked into the case at the time, but it eventually fell through after they lost touch with the victim and couldn't confirm the name of the officer she was accusing, the Times Free Press reported previously. Logan did not tell the victim his real name.

Then on Aug. 8, 2015, just over a week after the first assault, Logan reportedly raped a woman he personally knew, prosecutors wrote.

The woman, identified as N.S., had spent the night on Logan's couch with her then-boyfriend after a night out. The woman's boyfriend got up early for work the next morning, and she stayed asleep. She awoke to Logan raping her, prosecutors wrote.

She later confronted Logan via a private message on social media, to which he "replied with an apology," prosecutors noted.

Five months later, Logan assaulted D.H. after work at UTC. And four months after that, on May 30, 2016, he went on to assault another woman: S.M.

He arrested her and drove her to a secluded area where he forced her to perform oral sex.

A guilty conscience

According to the sentencing memo from prosecutors, N.S. "lives with guilt, believing that had she immediately reported the defendant, he might not have been able to victimize other women."

She didn't report Logan because she didn't think anyone would believe her.

"I honestly didn't know what to do after he assaulted me," N.S. wrote in her victim impact statement. "I was in disbelief and just wanted to push it far away from my mind. I was so scared too. I found myself putting his life before mine in a way because I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. I wanted to think he really wasn't that kind of person, and all I did was sacrifice myself because it affected me negatively."

She worried she would somehow be blamed and that people would say she "was screwing up a good man's life," she wrote.

Logan was engaged at the time and had recently become a police officer.

N.S. only recently contacted the FBI after learning through news reports that Logan had pleaded guilty to similar crimes, prosecutors noted.

It's been difficult accepting what happened to her and accepting that he did go on to hurt other women, N.S. said.

"I am always stuck wondering if I had [reported him], would he have stopped, and could I have prevented others from being assaulted," she wrote.

Today, she is herself a police officer, and helping others "is one of the few things I found to bring me joy after my assault," she said.

"All these years later, I am stronger, braver, and mostly proud of myself for being able to talk about what happened to me," she wrote. "Nothing will ever take away what happened to me, but I know that I am a greater, stronger, person, and none of it was not my fault."

Community reminder

With the plea agreement, "the United States sought to vindicate the rights of the ... victims, but spare them the uncertainty of trial and the trauma endemic to testifying about the degrading and intimate nature of sexual assault," prosecutors wrote.

"There are few crimes more difficult to detect than sexual assault, when there are rarely independent witnesses, and the case is often reliant on the credibility of the victim," prosecutors wrote.

"Indeed, the defendant clearly believed that he could exploit his authority as a police officer in order to sexually assault women and get away with it.

"He drove to secluded locations to avoid detection, and he chose victims whom he thought no one would believe, essentially creating situations where it would be his victim's word against his, should any victim prove brave enough to report his criminal conduct. It is for these very reasons that the defendant escaped accountability for so long."

Had the case gone to trial, Logan risked a maximum sentence of life in prison. But because he pleaded guilty early, he avoided additional charges and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

"The United States is simply asking the court to ... provide him no more of a benefit than he has already received under the terms of his plea agreement," prosecutors wrote in their argument for a longer sentence.

A lengthy sentence, they argued, would ensure justice for the victims and would "remind the community that law enforcement officers are not above the law and will be held to account for their crimes."

Logan's sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 19 in federal court.

While Logan now faces no criminal charges at the state level, Tennessee's statutes of limitations for rape and aggravated rape of an adult are eight and 15 years, respectively, if a victim chooses to press charges. That is, unless the victim reported the violation to law enforcement within three years of the offense, and the offense took place on or after July 1, 2014, then there is no statute of limitations.

Contact Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or follow her on Twitter @Hughes Rosana.