Originally created 09/21/03

Athens police suspend accused trainee



ATHENS, Ga. - An Athens-Clarke County police officer trainee has been suspended while under investigation after being accused of raping a security guard at the officer's west Athens apartment.

Police Chief Jack Lumpkin said the officer was suspended with pay while the case is investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Maj. Keith Morris, of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department's Professional Responsibility Division, said it is standard procedure for the GBI to investigate complaints of criminal misconduct by his department's officers.

"We thought seriously enough about (the rape allegation) to call in the GBI," Maj. Morris said.

He said an internal affairs probe is being simultaneously conducted by his division.

Chief Lumpkin said the recruit officer, as a trainee, would not be assigned to patrol duties.

The officer has not been charged.

The victim alleged that the rape occurred Friday afternoon at an apartment complex off Jennings Mill Road in west Athens.

The 24-year-old security guard with the Athens-based Georgia Security & Detective Agency told the Athens Banner-Herald that she was making a check of the apartment complex when she discovered a group of construction workers was spending the night in a unit they were renovating.

Afraid to confront the men on her own, she said she went to the officer's nearby apartment and asked to use the telephone to call for backup from co-workers. She said she was making her rounds on foot and did not have a radio at the time.

After calling another guard, she said she returned outside to await his arrival. The man came out of his apartment several minutes later, the woman said.

"He came out with a drink in his hand and asked me if I wanted to come in," she said. "He said, 'I know you're cold out there, so why don't you come in and call (the other guard) again to see if he's coming?"'

The woman said she went into the apartment and sat on a couch, and then the man forced himself on her.

The woman said she ran from the apartment about an hour later when she and the man heard other security guards looking for her outside.