Friday, May 16, 2008

Tenn. church's stress ends with news that alleged rape 'actually didn't happen'

Police determine reported rape never happened

First Baptist Church thanks CPD for quick investigation

An investigation by the Clarksville Police Department determined that a rape reported Sunday at First Baptist Church, 435 Madison St., didn't actually happen, according to CPD spokeswoman Sgt. Cheryl Anderson.

"The case is assigned to Detective Nick Newman, who has been aggressively investigating the allegation since it was made," Anderson wrote in a press release. "Through his investigation, it has been discovered that the person making the allegation did fabricate the events which were reported."

The woman has apologized for the false report, Anderson wrote.

Police wouldn't release any other information about the case Thursday night, and Anderson would only say the investigation is ongoing.

The Rev. Roger P. Freeman of the church, in a written statement, expressed his and the church's appreciation for the CPD and Newman, "who worked tirelessly to bring this investigation to a swift, yet conclusive end within this week."

"The final police report indicates that there was no abduction and no rape as had been earlier reported," Freeman wrote.

Freeman added that the campuses of the church are well-patrolled, safe and secure.

"We open our arms of love, support, acceptance and welcome to every person involved in the events of this past week," Freeman wrote. "We pray that First Baptist Church will continue to minister redemptively, effectively and with grace to all people in our community."

In what has been a stressful week for the church, Freeman thanks the members of the church and the deacon body who stood by the pastoral staff throughout the incident.

"We thank the pastors and members of other churches who called to express their love, support and prayers," Freeman wrote.

About the case

The woman told police on Sunday that a man grabbed her from behind around 12:20 p.m. that day and pulled her into a building on the church's property, according to a police report.

The woman told police the man was a stranger, according to the report, and that he raped her in an unknown room. She said she fought off the man.

The attack was reported to 911 at 12:41 p.m.

Jamie Dexter covers crime and entertainment and he can be reached at 245-0216 or jamiedexter@theleafchronicle.com.