Local News

Search Warrant Reveals Details on Durham Police Sex Probe

Posted December 9, 2007 6:28 p.m. EST
Updated December 11, 2007 10:45 a.m. EST

— 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.