Former Chattanooga police officer accused in covering up rape allegation is ordered to appear before grand jury

Former Chattanooga police officer accused in covering up rape allegation is ordered to appear before grand jury

July 11th, 2019 by Zack Peterson in Local Regional News

Pedro Bacon

Pedro Bacon

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

A retired, high-ranking Chattanooga police officer accused of helping cover up a rape allegation that is being investigated by multiple law enforcement agencies has been summoned before a federal grand jury.

Pedro Bacon, a retired captain previously over the city police department's internal affairs division, was subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury in mid-April and went to Chattanooga U.S. District Court on June 25 in connection with a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into fired officer Desmond Logan and any efforts to suppress rape allegations against him, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.

Although June 25 was a scheduled day for grand jury proceedings, it's unclear what happened at the courthouse. Bacon could have testified under oath before a grand jury, which is an impaneled group of citizens who hear evidence from prosecutors and return indictments in criminal cases. He could have appeared but refused to answer questions. He could have "proffered" information, not under oath, to federal authorities that would help them make an arrest, get a search warrant or just further their investigation in the hopes of cutting a deal.

Chattanooga attorney Robin Flores, who is representing Bacon, confirmed his client received a subpoena but said "that's all I can comment on."

Bacon has not been charged in any publicly available criminal indictments, but his grand jury subpoena indicates federal authorities might be looking into allegations that he and another high-ranking retired officer, Assistant Chief Edwin McPherson, may have been involved in suppressing an accusation that Logan raped a woman in 2015. The Times Free Press reported on that allegation, provided by multiple sources who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation, in May.

McPherson — who now works for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's police department as a sergeant for community engagement and special operations — said Thursday he didn't know anything about Bacon being subpoenaed. He hung up the phone when a Times Free Press reporter asked if he'd also received a subpoena. The local prosecutor on the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Brooks, did not respond to a phone call and email requests for comment.

The Chattanooga police department declined to comment for this story, but in the past, department spokeswoman Elisa Myzal has said, "CPD has and will continue to fully cooperate with the investigating agencies."

For about a year now, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and the FBI have been investigating Logan, who resigned from the police department in late January, minutes before his disciplinary hearing. Those investigations began after Chattanooga Police Department Chief David Roddy held a news conference in June 2018 announcing an officer, later learned to be Logan, was under investigation for sexual misconduct. Roddy said the June 2018 incident was the only allegation against the officer.

But the Times Free Press has since reported that Logan, who joined the department in 2014, was accused of raping at least two other women while on duty, including the alleged 2015 cover-up. He was also fired from the UTC police department in 2016 after a woman at an event said he harassed her and stunned her in the leg with a stun gun.

One of the accusers, the third woman from the June 2018 rape, sued the city of Chattanooga in May in U.S. District Court under the pseudonym "K.B.," alleging the department knew of prior sexual misconduct, covered up rape for years and has a history of wrongdoing.

Though the city has cooperated with federal authorities by turning over all evidence in the Logan case, including digital footprints and emails that may confirm the cover-up allegations, its attorneys responded July 3 with a motion to dismiss. They argued that K.B. only named "the city of Chattanooga" as a defendant, not Bacon, Logan or McPherson.

"There are no allegations in the complaint that either McPherson or Bacon were final decision makers for the City such that they were policymakers whose acts or omissions could result in liability for the city," attorneys Phil Noblett, Melinda Foster and Joseph Kelly wrote in the motion.

K.B.'s attorneys immediately fired back that they don't have to identify a policymaker "such as the mayor or police chief" who was aware of Logan's repeated sexual misconduct allegations.

There is currently no court date set for the issue.

Staff writers Rosana Hughes and Mark Pace contributed to this report.

Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at zpeterson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.


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