ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

This story was updated at 12:49 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, with more information.

A trial date was set Wednesday morning for a former Chattanooga police officer, just over a year after he was arrested on sexual battery charges.

Benjamin Dessalines was arrested on Nov. 29, 2018, and charged with felony kidnapping and felony sexual battery after allegedly taking a woman caught shoplifting to his apartment, fondling her and telling her he wanted to have sex with her.

The kidnapping charge was later dismissed during his preliminary hearing because Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Lila Statom didn't believe prosecutors met certain criteria to charge Dessalines with kidnapping.

Her decision was based on part of the woman's testimony, she said. The woman testified that Dessalines didn't physically force her to go inside his apartment or get into his car, something Dessalines' defense attorney, former Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern, elicited during cross-examination. As a result, only the sexual battery charge was sent to the grand jury and he was indicted on May 29 of this year.

Dessalines has been out on a $15,000 bond and showed up in court on Wednesday morning in a navy blue suit, his friends and family in tow.

Stern, his attorney, told Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman that a plea agreement could not be reached. A trial date was set for June 9 with a pre-trial review scheduled for April 2.

Dessalines was fired from the Chattanooga Police Department on Jan. 31, the same day another officer, Desmond Logan, resigned just minutes before his own disciplinary hearing amid a federal investigation into multiple rapes.

Logan was arrested on Sept. 12 after he pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of deprivation of rights and admitted to raping three women in his custody and using a Taser on another.

Last month, attorneys for Dessalines' alleged victim — identified only as Jane Doe — filed a $300,000 lawsuit claiming that Dessalines and the police department violated her constitutional rights. Specifically, it states her Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures were violated.

Contact Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.

 

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT