Local News

Duke police officer arrested on rape charge

Posted October 27, 2009
Updated November 12, 2009

— A Duke University police officer has been arrested and charged with raping a woman in Dothan, Ala., over the weekend.

Webster Delenn Simmons, 37, of Rougemont, was arrested Monday after the alleged attack was reported. He was charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy.

The 34-year-old victim went with Simmons to a bar on Friday night, Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes said. The victim bought every drink but her last, which Simmons bought. Hughes said Simmons possibly laced the victim's drink with drugs.

Hughes said the victim remembers leaving the bar. When she woke up early Saturday, she was being raped in Simmons' car.  She was gagged and handcuffed.

After executing a search warrant, authorities found two pair of handcuffs, a ball gag, a thick white rope, an unknown power source with wires attached to a nail, a whip and flog, and what looked like medical tubing.

Authorities suspect Simmons may have committed other sex crimes, Hughes said.

“We are certainly cooperating with the officials in Alabama. We really don't have any indication there's been another crime, but we will continue to cooperate with them or any other agency as we need to,” Duke University Police Chief John Dailey said.

Simmons, who had no criminal record, was hired by Duke last December.

“It's disturbing to hear any serious allegation about any law enforcement officer because they represent all of us in law enforcement. So clearly it is concerning,” Dailey said.

Simmons was being held under a $120,000 bond Tuesday at the Houston County Jail in Alabama. He has been suspended with pay pending further investigation, university spokesman Keith Lawrence said.

“Clearly this is one individual who does not represent the good work and the dedication of the 173 other employees that we have at the department,” Dailey said.

Prior to his work at Duke, Simmons was a master officer with the Raleigh Police Department from 1998 to 2007.

Duke police said they will conduct their own internal investigation of Simmons.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • daisy Oct 28, 2009

    What a sicko! I would suspend him WITHOUT pay!

  • working for deadbeats Oct 28, 2009

    No decent officer or leo supporter with defend this guy. Don't worry!

  • Professor Oct 28, 2009

    This man should never be allowed to be a cop ever again. It makes it a little too easy for him to meet the young girls and the rapes. Send him to prison.

  • Professor Oct 28, 2009

    Give this man 60 years in prison. The Duke campus should be safe for all the young ladies there.

  • mrduright Oct 28, 2009

    @ Journey985

    I know right!

  • timothycapwell Oct 28, 2009

    Mike Nifong and Crystal Gail Mangum are unavalable for comment.

  • Common Sense Man Oct 28, 2009

    "If he is guilty, which I think he is (who else would have that much evidence on him), he should be given "eye for an eye..."."

    I think he'd probably enjoy that punishment. Put him under the jail if he's guilty.

  • Eduardo1 Oct 28, 2009


  • Jack Flash Oct 28, 2009

    " Only the LEO's are innocent until proven guilty. The rest of us are guilty until proven innocent. "---mrduright

    You are backwards on everything you post, ESPECIALLY this ridiculous statement. Criminals are given every ounce of doubt while LEO's are immediately considered guilty." ~leo

    All due respect, I think both of your opinions are colored by your own understandable bias. We all know that technically EVERYONE is innocent until proven guilty, but try telling that to an indicted person. He or she is going to FEEL convicted in the court of public opinion, regardless of where the actual legal process is.

    As "insiders" on the legal system, it's understandable that many might think LEOs have an advantage, and that they are like rich people in their ability to navigate the system and truly be treated as innocent until proven guilty. OTOH, I could see how LEOs themselves may feel like they're being made examples, and therefore have their due process trampled a bit.

  • thepeopleschamp Oct 28, 2009

    "local crack house traffic which never ends and no LEOs seem to care about except when they need their fix." einventor

    What are these officer's names? If you know this is happening then you would know their names. Or perhaps you exaggerate, to put it mildly.