CPD investigates officer's alleged contact with rape victim - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

CPD investigates officer's alleged contact with rape victim

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A Chattanooga police officer is on paid administrative leave amid allegations he was having inappropriate contact with a rape victim whose case he was investigating.

Ringgold Attorney McCracken Poston said his female client was brutally raped and beaten earlier this year. The suspect was arrested and taken to court. But Poston said the problem surrounds the case's lead investigator Karl Fields whom he said was sending inappropriate texts to his client.

Poston also claimed Fields made a copy of the rape, which was captured on video and turned over as evidence.

"That's very disturbing and the fact this is coming from an officer of the law makes it even more disturbing," Poston said.

Poston gave few details about what was allegedly said between his client and Fields and stopped short of saying the two had any kind of consensual relationship.

"He showed up uninvited with a pizza and some drinks to her one day and was upset there was another man there," Poston said. "So we just have a very fragile victim here who's made even more fragile by an official."

Poston said his client just wants to be left alone. He took his allegations and evidence to the district attorney who will investigate further. It's not clear yet if any charges will be filed against the officer.

But the matter now becomes an internal affairs investigation at the police department. The IA process involves both civilians and police who review the evidence and make recommendations to the department for discipline.

"The thing that gives us the most confidence in this process is the level of reviews that we have in it," said Deputy Chief David Roddy.

Roddy said they'll review the facts, a process which could take several months. As is policy, CPD is releasing very few details regarding the allegations while internal affairs looks at the case and makes recommendations.

"I was in law enforcement for 10 years in South Carolina," said local attorney Robin Flores said. "I can tell you from my former chief down there, such an officer would not only be fired but prosecuted."

Attorney Robin Flores said the case is about more than just ethics.

"If you've got a rape victim that's been sexually abused and you're investigating that rape victim or investigating her case, you're in a position of authority," said local attorney Robin Flores. "You're in an authority position over her and how you investigate that case determines whether her assailant gets convicted or not and goes to prison."

This is not the first time Fields has made the news.

In 2006, the CPD officer pleaded guilty to DUI and lost his driving privileges for one year. According to the arrest report, Fields originally told police he was the victim of a carjacking but later reversed his story and admitted to driving drunk at the time of his single-vehicle wreck.

According to his IA history, Fields was suspended from work for 14 days after the DUI.
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