Tenn. Officer Accused of Raping Woman in Cruiser

La VERGNE, Tenn. --

An officer with the La Vergne Police Department is on leave after being accused of raping a woman in his patrol car that was parked alongside Interstate 24.

But the chief of the department said the officer will be vindicated because of an audio tape.

The incident began Wednesday evening when La Vergne police served an outstanding warrant for police in Nashville. The woman named in the warrant was wanted for failure to be booked on traffic violations and held at La Vergne police headquarters while waiting for Metro police to pick her up.

However, police in Nashville were later unable to arrive and pick up the woman, according to Chief Ted Boyd of the La Vergne Police Department.

The unidentified officer agreed to take her to the Rutherford County Jail, but en route he came upon a crash on Interstate 24 in Murfreesboro. Police said when he got out of his patrol car, he noticed the woman had gotten out of her seat belt. He apparently radioed dispatchers to say he was re-buckling the belt.

"I actually had radio contact with him at that time and told him to proceed on to the jail," said Boyd.

The woman later accused the officer of raping her right on the interstate, but the chief believes the officer is completely innocent of the accusations.

“Myself and the mayor's office totally believe in our officers. We're confident he'll be cleared of this. There's audio tape inside the car that should prove right or wrong. I have every reason to believe he did nothing wrong," said Boyd.

The Rutherford County Sheriff's Department has been asked to investigate. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is also looking into these allegations. If the woman is found to have lied about being rape, charges could be filed against her.

"When people are in great trouble they want to seem to put the blame on somebody else, so they are not looked at," said Boyd.

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