Local News

Duke police officer arrested on rape charge

Posted October 27, 2009 2:11 p.m. EDT
Updated November 12, 2009 4:23 p.m. EST

— 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.