Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Accuser refuses to cooperate, charges not pursued

Rape case vs. officer weakens

Summit prosecutors lack help from woman, clear details to go to grand jury, report says

By Marilyn Miller Beacon Journal staff writer

Published on Wednesday, Oct 15, 2008

Summit County prosecutors will not be taking a rape allegation involving an Akron police officer to the grand jury, Chief Counsel Mary Ann Kovach said in a report Tuesday.

Kovach blamed a lack of cooperation from the complainant and sketchy and inconsistent details as the major reasons behind the decision.

The accusation involved a 22-year-old Wayne County woman and a 26-year-old police officer.

The woman claims the officer sexually assaulted her Aug. 17 at a hotel after she and her friend met two off-duty police officers at a downtown eatery.

The foursome attended a bachelor party at the hotel.

The alleged victim made a call to a 911 operator after the sexual encounter and was taken to St. Thomas Hospital, where she was examined.

The statements that were reviewed showed witnesses and bachelor party participants gave varying accounts of what each of the participants was doing and their state of dress and behavior in front of each other while in the rooms, the report said.

''All agree insults were exchanged following the sexual encounter,'' the report said, but it was unclear ''whether a perceived 'slight' — officers' leaving the room early, their departure for Myrtle Beach, failure by the officer to give his full name, phone number or a ride to the two women when they were leaving at approximately 4:45 a.m. — or some other abuse, precipitated the rape complaint.''

The three-page finding was distributed to Police Chief Michael Matulavich and the media.

''The complainant was clearly upset and angry when she left the hotel room,'' the report said.

''She reported rape to the front desk at the Radisson Hotel at 4:50 a.m. and made two statements during the investigation.''

According to the report, the whereabouts of the Burbank woman have not been determined, despite several attempts by an investigator to contact her.

There were also conflicting accounts on whether the woman had a brief sexual contact with another officer prior to having sex with this officer.

The officer does not deny having sex with the woman, but says it was consensual. He has been on administrative leave.

''The bottom line is, this officer did nothing wrong. He was falsely accused and this investigation reveals that,'' said Paul Hlynsky, Akron police union president. ''Sadly, when you are a police officer you have to pay the price twice even with a false accusation, because now he will have to face an internal investigation.''

Kovach states in the report that there is a lack of clarity surrounding the incidents. ''Ordinarily this office would proceed to the grand jury with a case such as this in order to sort out the facts; however without the cooperation of the complainant, this cannot be accomplished . . . If the complainant contacts our office we will meet to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to the grand jury.''

Link: http://www.ohio.com/news/30993814.html