Lawsuit alleging rape by former Chattanooga police officer amended with new information

Lawsuit alleging rape by former Chattanooga police officer amended with new information

June 5th, 2019 by Rosana Hughes in Local Regional News

This story was updated Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at 10 p.m. with more information.

Desmond Logan / Photo contributed by WRCB

Desmond Logan / Photo contributed by WRCB

Photo by WRCB-TV Channel 3 /Times Free Press.

The attorney representing a woman who claims former Chattanooga police officer Desmond Logan raped her filed an amendment to her lawsuit Wednesday in federal court.

The federal suit was originally filed on May 13 seeking unspecified compensatory damages and for her legal costs to be covered. The lawsuit claims she was raped and then ignored when she tried to report the incident at Hamilton County Jail. It also claims the police department knew of allegations of prior sexual misconduct, something for which the city is liable.

The amended complaint includes information first published by the Times Free Press detailing how two now-retired, high-ranking officers may have played a role in covering up years of rape allegations against Logan.

Officials believe Assistant Chief Edwin McPherson and retired Capt. Pedro Bacon tried to suppress internal investigation records and emailed about their attempts to cover up the accusations, sources previously told the Times Free Press.

However, records that may confirm those allegations have been withheld for months by the city attorney's office, citing an ongoing federal investigation and criminal investigation by the sheriff's office.

Police Capt. Edwin McPherson, left, and Lt. Pedro Bacon sit at a table during a thank-you celebration honoring them on Thursday, June 25, 2015, at Eastdale Recreation Center in Chattanooga, Tenn. Investigations into former Chattanooga police officer Desmond Logan found Bacon and McPherson may have played a role in covering up years of rape allegations against the fellow officer. / Staff photo by Doug Strickland

Police Capt. Edwin McPherson, left, and Lt. Pedro...

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

The amended complaint also added an allegation that Logan violated the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure.

"Logan's assault of Plaintiff violated the Fourth Amendment as an unreasonable seizure and intrusion on her bodily integrity," the complaint reads, describing the violation as an "abuse of power and authority that shocks the conscience."

So far, the city has not filed a response to the complaint and has declined to comment on the matter.

The plaintiff is the most recent woman to accuse Logan of misconduct during his time on the force.

At least three women have claimed they notified members of the Chattanooga Police Department that they were raped by Logan. The accusations date back to early-2015, shortly after Logan started on the force. Other women have claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Logan — including an incident that got him fired from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Police.

Only one woman, the victim from June 2018, was included in the lawsuit because the statute of limitations has likely passed in other cases, Phillips said, despite the women claiming to have notified authorities shortly after their incidents.

Each of the women claim their allegations were ignored.

The most recent woman who claimed Logan raped her — who filed the lawsuit — reported the incident to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office in June 2018. The sheriff's office began a criminal investigation. The FBI is also investigating. The police department conducted an internal affairs investigation. That investigation was completed. Logan resigned from the department minutes ahead of his internal affairs hearing in which he was scheduled to be fired.

Chattanooga police Chief David Roddy claimed the incident involving the plaintiff was the first report of sexual misconduct against the officer in a news conference, though allegations of earlier misconduct came to light soon after.

In a statement on May 13 when the lawsuit was first filed, police spokeswoman Elisa Myzal said, "It is difficult for the Chattanooga Police Department to comment on open, ongoing federal and local investigations."

"However, the CPD maintains we were informed of the officer's actions on the night of June 13, 2018 and immediately placed him on administrative leave," Myzal said. "Since that time, CPD has and will continue to fully cooperate with the investigating agencies."

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