Thursday, October 14, 2010

Woman charged for making false rape complaint against jailers

The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 37-year-old Antioch woman tonight on charges that she falsely accused two female officers of raping her.

Detective Lt. Todd Sparks identified the woman as Abimbola Lipford-Sims.

“She’s being booked into our facility,” Sparks said during a press conference in front of the County Jail.

La Vergne Police initially arrested her Wednesday on theft and violation of probation charges.

“During the booking process, special circumstances required the arrestee to change from her street clothes into different apparel,” states a news release from Major Preble A. Acton.

She was released Thursday and told a companion that she’d been raped by two officers while in her cell, Sparks said. The companion later came back to report what Lipford-Sims had said.

“We have to examine every single complaint that comes in,” Sparks said.

Detective Lisa Svitak interviewed Lipford-Sims and officers. Svitak also reviewed several hours of the jail system’s 24-hour video surveillance that records anything that happens, said Sparks, adding that Lipford-Sims was offered the chance to seek a medical examination to determine if she had been raped but declined.

Svitak also examined all booking records in determining that the officers acted in a professional manner and were falsely accused.

“They were actually very compassionate,” said Sparks, noting that Lipford-Sims could face up to a two-year sentence if convicted of a class E felony.

“After reviewing extensive video footage, gathering statements and interviewing all parties involved, Detective Svitak can find no evidence of any criminal act or misconduct by any member of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office,” Acton said in news release. “Taped footage clearly contradicts Lipford-Sims’ statement and reflects only compassionate and appropriate care by both female officers.”

The sheriff’s office obtained a warrant charging Lipford-Sims with filing a false report. Sparks, Svitak and newly appointed Detective Chuck Thomas of the U.S. Marshal’s District Fugitive Task Force and task force officers took her into custody before 5 p.m.

“Complaints of officer misconduct are serious matters and a means for citizens to aid law enforcement administration about employees’ conduct outside of direct supervision,” the news release states. “When used appropriately, the complaint process benefits both citizens and the Sheriff’s Office. However, blatant misuse is evident in this situation leading to officers being accused of a criminal act, which did not occur; therefore, the Sheriff’s Office will not release the two female officers’ names.”