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Search Warrant Reveals Details on Durham Police Sex Probe

Posted December 9, 2007
Updated December 11, 2007

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— WRAL obtained a search warrant Sunday on the Durham Police Department's investigation into sexual misconduct involving prostitutes. In it, a woman claims she had sex to stay out of jail.

The warrant states the 33-year-old woman is known as a prostitute and that she claims she had "numerous sexual encounters with Durham police officers" while they were on duty.

The warrant mentions two officers, but does not name them. The woman claims she and the first officer arranged to meet in Durham's Sherwood Park on Oct. 17. The warrant states "she then performed oral sex on the first officer." She saved physical evidence, a condom, from the encounter and turned it over to an investigator.

The second case was two and a half weeks later. According to the warrant, the woman claims a different officer told her he had arrest warrants on her. He said "depending on how she handled this would determine if she went to jail." The warrant also states she performed oral sex to "keep from going to jail." Again, she kept physical evidence, a wash clothe, and gave it to an investigator.

“We're continuing with the investigation putting some evidence out to the lab to see about having it analyzed,” Police Chief Jose Lopez said.

Both officers and the woman have since given DNA samples. The results are not back yet, Lopez said.

He also said fewer than five officers remain under investigation. Initially, about 10 officers, ranging from rookies to veterans, were involved in the probe.

While many people on Durham's City Council said it is premature to talk about the investigation, they are hoping the allegations are not true.

“There is no question we have to wait until the facts come in. Certainly, I would like to hope that these two officers are exonerated, but that's the one thing about DNA, it doesn't lie,” Councilman Eugene Brown said.

Lopez said the department is looking to see if there are more women involved. He also said they are keeping the FBI and the District Attorney abreast of the investigation.

If the investigation finds that any officers violated the law, Lopez said, he will not hesitate to dismiss them from the force.

Durham police have been involved in other misconduct cases in recent months.

Scott C. Tanner and Gary P. Lee were fired last year after a cook was beaten up outside a Raleigh sports bar. Tanner was convicted of assault in April, while Lee was cleared of criminal wrongdoing.

Officer Talisa Little was charged in August with simple affray in connection with a fight outside a Raleigh nightclub. The charge was later dismissed.

41 Comments

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  • iamforjustice Dec 10, 2007

    You know that you can get diseases with oral sex. You won't have to wait to find out who they are....when the wives find out they got The Big G or whatever else...you will know who the cops are then because you will be reading about them in the obituaries...

  • Nancy Dec 10, 2007

    "The SBI should be running this investigation."

    They should be, however, Lopez did "consult" with the FBI because of the potential for civil rights violations tied to this. When an officer uses their authority (uniformed duty) to extort 'favors' from someone (threatening jail), then it's considered a violation of civil rights.

    Seems some in DPD don't understand the parameters of their job and authority and use it to bully and threaten whomever they please. We've seen it before.

  • yukonjohn3 Dec 10, 2007

    It just looks like both sides of this issue did exactly what almost any human being would do. I agree with iamforjustice, it was just bartering, plain and simple.

  • St Ives Dec 10, 2007

    My only thoughts on this subject are "Where do they find these guys?" It used to be you had to be special and have character to become an officer, at least in some cities. Maybe they lowered the standards in Durham because no one wanted the job.Still is a shame.

  • Justin T. Dec 10, 2007

    Iamforjustice... I like your bartering idea! After what a speeding ticket eventually costs either for the lawyer or an insurance hike... I may be willing to perform a "favor". I won't even tell.

  • Justin T. Dec 10, 2007

    Someone said that if these were average citizens, their pictures would be posted and them labelled as predators... don't worry! Once they are actually convicted and given their due process their pictures will be posted, etc.

  • todd23 Dec 10, 2007

    Nice how we're now waiting for all the evidence before we accuse anyone of anything!

  • superman Dec 10, 2007

    Just because she turned over something to the police-- doesnt prove her story-- they could have paid her or she could have done it free. Dont jump too fast and believe her story just yet.

  • iamforjustice Dec 10, 2007

    I really don't see what the problem is. Nothing wrong with this bartering system. What they do is their business. Just hope they don't want me to do them thangs...just give me a ticket!!!!!

  • pdl Dec 10, 2007

    The SBI should be running this investigation.

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