Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Alleged rape victim says she trusted off-duty officers at bachelor party

I had a chance to talk to the woman at the center of the rape allegations involving an off-duty Akron Police officer who was part of a weekend bachelor party.

She wasn't home when I visited her today .. but I left my card and she called me back.

Under advice from detectives, she's not granting interviews about what happened ... but she did tell me briefly that the officer she met that night at the bar was someone she "felt safe with" because he'd told her he was an Akron officer and had even displayed his badge and gun, she said.

Beyond that, she's just scared .. and she says she still can't believe this happened to her. She said that Akron detectives have been professional and courteous in taking her statement, and that she felt really comfortable with them.

More than anything, she said she just wants to protect her privacy while coming to grips with what's she told police that she endured.

As for the police investigation .. not much new today. Detectives are still waiting to talk with some of the other off-duty officers who were there Saturday night but who right now are out of town on vacation.

We still don't have the officer(s) side of the story either.

I will tell you that Internet chatter about identifying the accused officer is way off base. Even if police identified the "suspect", we would NOT have identified him .. just as we wouldn't have identified any other suspect.

I can't speak for other news organizations, but once someone is formally charged, only then will our news department name them on the air .. as it's then a matter of public record. Before that, no specific names are put in our stories as a matter of newsroom policy.

Let's face it .. anyone can accuse anyone else of just about anything. So to name someone -- police officers included -- who is still only being investigated isn't ethically right in my book .. and I won't do it.


Anonymous said...

Eric it sounds like you know a liar when you hear one. The question is, when those officer(s) are cleared will the media make it right or will it just be forgoten about. My prayers go out to the officer(s) and families hurt by this.

Anonymous said...

Let her take a poligraph! How many other alleged rape suspects do you begin your newscasts with? It is very unfair to this police officer unless he actually gets charged. If you did your homework Eric, another akron police officer about 3 years ago was accused of rape and he was totally vindicated. Rapes should not be reported unless someone is charged or the suspect is unknown and you are putting out a description to identify him. Yellow tabloid journalism at its best. Will we see you on channel 19 soon?