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OOLTEWAH ASSAULT

CPD Chief Fletcher criticizes Gatlinburg detective's testimony in Ooltewah rape

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Chattanooga PD Chief Fred Fletcher (left) and Gatlinburg PD Detective Rodney Burns. Chattanooga PD Chief Fred Fletcher (left) and Gatlinburg PD Detective Rodney Burns.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher took exception with the statements made by Gatlinburg PD Detective Rodney Burns Monday during the preliminary hearing for the three Ooltewah High school officials in the Ooltewah assault case.

The attack on the Ooltewah HS freshman took place during an out-of-town basketball tournament in Gatlinburg and required the victim to be hospitalized for nearly eight days at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.

The victim was violently sodomized with a pool cue by upperclassmen teammates, in what Burns attempted to describe as a hazing incident.

READ MORE | Detective says Ooltewah assault wasn't rape

During his testimony, Burns said "What this case actually is is much smaller than what it's been blown up to be. To me it was an assault. It wasn't sexual in nature, his pants weren't pulled down, they weren't doing it for sexual gratification, this was something stupid that kids do that shouldn't have been done, you know?"

Fletcher's strongly-worded Facebook post outlined his law enforcement philosophies on how sex crimes are understood and what rape means legally.

He quoted Tennessee law on the matter as well, which clearly details what constitute rape.

Fletcher's complete post is below:

As a police leader and a former sex crimes detective and as a human being who cares about the respect and dignity of all persons including, especially, victims of violent crime allow me to be abundantly clear about something very important.

The allegations being adjudicated against several young men in our community constitute rape. Not simply hazing, or bullying, or teasing, or horseplay. Rape. A violent crime.

It is ultimately for a jury to decide the outcome of these allegations and that is as it should be.

But the allegations and charges clearly constitute rape. Period. For anyone, including a police officer, to suggest otherwise minimizes the severity of this incident, the experience of the victim and, ultimately, makes life more dangerous for current and future victims.

Tennessee Law is very clear on this matter:

Rape is unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or of the defendant by a victim accompanied by any of the following circumstances:
(1) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act;
(2) The sexual penetration is accomplished without the consent of the victim

(7) “Sexual penetration” means sexual intercourse or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person's body or of any object into the genital or anal openings of the victim...

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