Victims, officer claim Chattanooga police officer raped multiple women while on duty

Victims, officer claim Chattanooga police officer raped multiple women while on duty

July 16th, 2018 by Mark Pace in Local Regional News

A parking lot of Walter A Wood Supply Company is pictured Saturday, July 14. A woman claims a Chattanooga police officer raped her in this parking lot in 2015. Photo by Mark Pace / Chattanooga Times Free Press

Photo by Mark Pace /Times Free Press.

A Chattanooga police officer under investigation for sexual misconduct was previously accused of raping a woman while on the job in 2015, according to another police officer and an alleged victim.

Their statements contradict information provided by police Chief David Roddy, who stated during a June 16 news conference that "there have been [no complaints] relative to this type of investigation" against the officer. The alleged victim, Hamilton County Sheriff's Office spokesman Matt Lea and an internal affairs file confirm the subject of the current investigation is Officer Desmond Logan.

Roddy said in June that the officer, who was assigned to the Neighborhood Policing Bureau, has been placed on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Another alleged victim, a current police officer and a separate source assert the officer has been accused of raping at least one additional woman while on duty and that department leadership knew about that allegation. The claim dates back to 2015 when a local woman said she informed the department Logan raped her in an empty parking lot late one night.

Her allegations would turn up last month in a file she said was shown to her by investigators looking into the June 13 incident.

A police officer, who spoke under the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, said the most recent alleged assault was just one of at least two Logan committed while on duty.

"It echoed back to the last time when they didn't act on this kid [Logan]," the officer said. "They knowingly allowed a predator to keep that uniform on."

Two women told the Times Free Press they made allegations against Logan.

The police department on Friday canceled a scheduled interview with Roddy and declined to set one up the next day. The department did not respond to a request to interview Logan.

Department spokeswoman Elisa Myzal sent a statement, explaining the department's internal affairs unit would finish conducting its investigation into the June incident after the criminal investigation by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

Details about the two alleged incidents are similar. Both women allegedly were picked up by Logan, told they were under arrest, taken to a parking lot and raped. The woman who said she was assaulted last month confirmed the incident through her attorney but didn't want to provide additional details.

The Times Free Press does not identify alleged rape victims. The woman who claims she was raped by Logan in 2015 — shortly after he began actively working as an officer — is identified as Victim 1. The victim who brought forth allegations that resulted in the current investigations is identified as Victim 2.

Victim 1

Victim 1 has tried to forget the night of her alleged rape in 2015.

"I'm more cautious," she said. "It's had a toll, mentally."

She was visiting a friend's house near Rossville Boulevard late that night. She believes it was May, shortly before her birthday, but she knows it was either spring or early summer. She was in shorts, a tank top and flip-flops.

A police officer pulled alongside her after she left her friend's house. He told her she was stumbling. That wasn't true, she said. She hadn't been drinking and wasn't on drugs. She was going to a family member's home for the night.

The officer changed his message. He told her there had been rapes in the area and he was looking out for her. Then, he became agitated. He told her she was being arrested and handcuffed her. She asked why and told him she had done nothing wrong. He placed her in the front seat of his car, she said, and drove.

She said the officer told her his name was "Officer Tate," but his name tag said "Logan." Years later, she found out from detectives his first name was Desmond. She became uneasy; she had been arrested before, but this arrest seemed different. She hadn't done anything wrong, she said. But "Tate" kept telling her she was going to jail.

He eventually turned into a business parking lot on Rossville Boulevard. She thought he was going to remove the handcuffs and let her go. Instead, he pushed her into the back seat and raped her, she said.

The officer repeatedly told her not to tell anyone. He began talking about his children, telling her he had a family of his own, she said.

"He acted like nothing had happened," she said.

He dropped her off at her brother's, again telling her not to tell anyone, she said. She promised she wouldn't.

She rushed inside, crying and shaking, and told her brother what happened. She wrote down everything she could remember before calling police, she said.

She explained what happened and was told to go to a hospital. The hospital sent her to the Partnership Rape Crisis Center, where she told her story and was tested for signs of rape. She also turned over her written account of what happened that night to the rape crisis center, where she was told it would help with an investigation into the officer, she said.

Seeking Answers

A portion of an Open Records Act request filed in June seeking the rape test's results has not been responded to. Logan's personnel file and internal affairs file have no mention of Victim 1 or any previous sexual assault complaints before Victim 2, the woman who reported the June 13 incident. The personnel file has little more than hiring paperwork.

Logan's internal affairs file contains one sheet of paper. The top lists personal information: name, employee number, badge number and hiring date along with his department, division and sector. Below, reads "Incidents."

The file lists several general allegations made by Victim 2 for the alleged sexual assault last month. The investigation into that incident remains ongoing.

A Knock on the Door

Little has officially happened in the three years since Victim 1 said she was raped. There is no record of an official investigation in Logan's files.

She said she is trying to deal the best she can with what she said happened that night.

"I've tried to forget," she said.

Three weeks ago, everything changed. Chattanooga Police Department internal affairs investigators came to her house, she said. They told her they had been looking into another case and came across her file. Two detectives with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office also stopped by. With them, they had a file with her allegations — the sheet of paper she had written on the night of the alleged rape.

Two agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation also came. The FBI did not confirm nor deny an investigation into Logan.

"Longstanding Department of Justice policy prohibits the FBI from confirming or denying the existence of any investigation," bureau spokesman Jason Pack wrote in an email.

However, the detectives left businesses cards, which Victim 1 showed the Times Free Press.

Moving Forward

Chad Phillips, the attorney representing Victim 2 for Sutherland & Belk, PLC, confirmed the law firm is gathering information for a legal case.

Chattanooga Police Department representatives have said over the last month they take sexual assault allegations seriously. Roddy echoed that sentiment during the June 16 news conference.

"When a community member comes forward and states an officer has not upheld his or her oath, failed to serve and protect or violated their trust, that officer will be questioned," Roddy said. "His or her actions will be investigated, and if found true, that officer will be held accountable."

Contact staff writer Mark Pace at mpace@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659. Follow him on Twitter @themarkpace and on Facebook at ChattanoogaOutdoorsTFP.


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