A woman who says she was raped by a Marion police officer is told her story to NewsChannel 15. She says she felt pressured to recant the allegation by two Marion police lieutenants who initially investigated the incident.
The 27-year-old woman asked us to identify her as "M." She asked us not to identify her or show her picture.
She said the first time she first met the 23-year-old officer was when he responded to her car accident the morning of September 25th. "He handed me a card and I just seen Marion police on it, and I threw it in my pocketbook."
"M" says the officer showed up at her apartment on McMillan Street an hour and a half later, wanting to discuss the tickets he issued her after the wreck. "He was in uniform and he came in and he started telling me about the tickets." Then "M" says the officer asked her to come into another room, where he raped her and then left. "I'm thinking, how do you call a police officer on a police officer? Who can I call?" she said.
"M" called her boyfriend and he called 9-1-1. Minutes later, she says a female officer showed up at her door, followed by a male officer. She says they advised her to have a rape kit done at the hospital. When she got home, she says the investigators returned, questioned her, and read her her rights. "They didn't make me feel like a victim because they told me, they said I don't look like a rape victim and you don't have a case because rape victims be balled up in a corner or scared to talk."
She says the officers threatened her with prison time, if she didn't recant her allegations and say the incident was consensual. "They kept saying if it's not rape then don't say it's rape. Then I said if I didn't agree to it or I didn't consent to it, what do I call it?"
"M" says she wrote in her statement that she didn't agree to have sex with the officer, but that it wasn't rape. "Made it seem like if I didn't put rape at the end, SLED wasn't going to take me to prison."
The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is now investigating, but they were not involved in the initial investigation or the questioning of the victim. The city's mayor, Rodney Berry, says SLED or the Marion County Sheriff's Office should have been called in to investigate. It's improper for a police agency to investigate when one of their own is the accused.
The Pee Dee Coalition is a non-profit agency handling domestic and sexual assaults. Representatives there have met with "M" and say a sexual assault advocate should have been present when police questioned her. "It's extremely important that a specialized sexual assault advocate is present through entire process from the time the victim presents through the sexual assault kit at the hospital through the questioning," said Lisa Hyatt of the coalition.
Hyatt says "M" exhibits signs of post traumatic stress, experienced by some rape victims.
The officer "M" has accused of raping her is unpaid leave from the department pending the outcome of the investigation.
The officer has been with the Marion Police Department in March.