ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
some text
Chattanooga Police Department detective Karl Fields

In June, about a month after she had been kidnapped, punched, kicked, stomped, dragged by the hair, burned, raped and urinated on, a woman said a Chattanooga police officer who knew what she had been through told her that he desired her, that he burned for her.

In a booth at El Meson Restaurante, over glasses of pineapple juice and vodka, the woman talked with Karl Fields, the lead investigator in her case. She said Fields told her about the evidence he had gathered so far. She said he asked her for more pictures of her injuries.

Then, the woman said, Fields got personal. He told her he wasn't happy in his marriage. He said the spark with his wife was gone, that they often cheated on each other.

She said Fields told her that he had wanted to be with her ever since the day she walked into the police station for an interview with bruises covering her neck, arms, chest, abdomen, back, legs and face.

"I'm very attracted to you," she recalled Fields saying at El Meson. "I want to touch you right now. I'm putting the ball in your court. Do what you want with it."

She said Fields also told her about one particular piece of evidence: a video of her having sex. She said her alleged rapist filmed their encounters on his phone at least twice. One time, it was consensual. The other time, she said, it was rape.

At the restaurant, she said Fields talked about one of those videos. She isn't sure which one. Fields told her he made a copy of it and watched it with the volume off. He said the man in the video seemed to be enjoying himself, and in the restaurant he made a motion with his hand, like he was masturbating.

"I may as well get one too," he said, according to the woman.

At first, she didn't grasp what he was telling her, but later that night she figured out his message. She felt sick. The next day, Fields apologized.

"I was wondering if I should have minimized my freakiness," he wrote in a text message.

Then, he asked her a question.

"Would you ever consider doing a girl with me?"

•••

For about two months, the woman said, Fields continued to try to have sex with her. She was not interested, but she kept quiet. She thought he could protect her, could put her alleged rapist in prison. She also said she was not thinking straight after the crime.

"I gave him trust he did not deserve," she said. "I did that strictly because he was my help."

Finally, two weeks ago, she came forward. She believed people needed to know how a police officer conducted himself on the job. She also believes Fields has treated other women the same way, and if he did, she wants them to come forward.

The woman said she provided text messages to Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston. In the messages, which were sent in June and July, a man identifies himself as Fields and provides two email addresses, including his Chattanooga police email.

The man in the text messages tells the woman which parts of her body he likes. He asks for naked pictures. In one message, he tells her he is outside her house. He says he likes what she is wearing.

Pinkston asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on Monday to look into Fields' actions and determine whether he has broken the law. In the meantime, the Chattanooga Police Department has placed Fields, an 11-year veteran, on administrative leave. He will continue to be paid but is not allowed to investigate crimes.

On Sept. 5, the woman told her story to Chattanooga investigators. A few days later, she spoke to the Times Free Press about the events of the past three months. As a policy, the paper does not print the names of victims of sex crimes.

But in a series of interviews, the woman described a brutal rape and the physical and mental torment she still feels today. She also talked about what happened next, when she reported the crime to the police, about her relationship with Fields.

"I definitely felt preyed upon, used at a vulnerable state," she said. "He's been on the force long enough to know that what he did ain't right."

She added: "I'm scared. I know I pissed him off. This is his life, his career. I'm afraid of any type of retaliation. I have no peace. I'm [expletive], really. I know this."

•••

The woman said she has known her accused rapist, James Leon Works Jr., since the two were kids. But they had not seen each other for years until she ran into Works in May.

She said he asked her out to dinner, and she ended up staying the night with him at an East Ridge hotel. They stayed together for several evenings and moved to the Red Roof Inn on Shallowford Road. She said their relationship was consensual at first.

Eventually, though, she became suspicious of Works. Anytime she wanted to leave their room, he stopped her. He took out the garbage, bought sodas, fetched clean towels for her. The whole time, she said, Works ordered her to stay in the room.

Finally, about five days after her first night with him, she walked toward the door. She said Works grabbed her and threw her back. He paced the room, yelling about loyalty, about people who have betrayed him, about a previous stint in prison, about the death of his family members.

He accused the woman of working with the police, of snitching on him. He laid methamphetamine on the table. He told her to smoke it.

Then, she said, he choked her until she passed out. When she came to, he kicked her, punched her, stomped on her, dragged her by her hair to the bathroom, stuck her head in the toilet and urinated on her. He ran a small flame across her back and put out cigarettes on her tongue.

For two days, she said, he raped her several times. She decided to try to run away when he fell asleep on June 1. She grabbed a phone that she found on the bed and called her mother, whispering directions to the hotel. Eight minutes later, she picked up a knife in case he woke up and ran toward the parking lot. She reported the crime later that day at Memorial Hospital.

Works remains in the Hamilton County Jail, awaiting trial. His attorney did not return calls seeking comment Friday.

The woman, who is 33 years old, spends most of her days inside her Hixson home. She is under house arrest for a recent drug charge.

Three months after the rape, she is still recovering. Sometimes, her fingers tingle because of nerve damage. She can't move her neck to the left, and she feels her vertebrae pop whenever she looks right. Her teeth are cracked. She can't feel her right thigh.

She fears another attack. She blames herself for the crime. She barely sleeps. She can't eat. She peeks around corners before she moves to another room. She bought a clear shower curtain so she'll know if anyone sneaks into the bathroom while she's vulnerable.

"I'm lost," she said. "I'm hurt. I'm paranoid. I'm confused. I don't know what I am. I try to act really normal for people because it bothers them what happened to me. I try to hold it together for people. ... My son wants to be a cop to protect me. He's running around in a Spiderman outfit because he thinks it protects me. He wants to kill James. He's 4."

Charlotte Boatwright, the president of the Coalition Against Domestic and Community Violence of Greater Chattanooga, said rape victims often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Certain sights, smells and thoughts can trigger flashbacks.

"There is no way I can put into words what victims feel," Boatwright said.

In the days after the crime, the woman said she felt close to Fields. He told her he would investigate every detail of the crime. He promised to put Works in prison for years.

After that dinner at El Meson, though, Fields began making more frequent advances. She wasn't sure how to handle him.

"Good afternoon sexy," he wrote at 12:30 p.m. on June 27.

"Was just thinking about you," he wrote 11 hours later. "Good night baby."

Fields, who has not responded to multiple requests for comment the past two weeks, told the woman he wanted to protect her, to heal her. He said she needed a man who could love her right, someone who could remind her that not all men will hurt you. On July 2, he texted her to tell her he just finished masturbating.

"Good for u..." she responded.

"I may do it again soon," he wrote, "if you want to join?"

The woman did not respond.

On July 7, Fields made another move.

"You ready," he asked in a text message.

"For what"

"Me"

"(Sex) isn't really on my brain," she told him. "Sorry that isn't what you want to hear."

In the days after, Fields continued to press on. He told her he liked her face, her eyes, her lips, her hair. He suggested that she should send him naked pictures. He told her he dreamed of having a long-term relationship with her.

"I would love to sex with you all of the time," he wrote in a text message, "but I do understand that you are mentally not ready for that yet. I like you more than I'm willing to admit and I'm not sure why, because you are a [expletive] mess ... hahaha!"

On July 19, he sent another message confessing his love. He admitted that barriers stand between the two of them. For one thing, Fields wrote, he has a wife. Also, he acknowledged that she had "a lot going on."

"But," he wrote, "the act of me loving you will not ... cause you or me any added complication."

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at tjett@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6476.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT