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GBI: Police officer raped woman

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

A 38-year-old Forest Park Police officer has been arrested on charges he raped a woman after giving her a traffic ticket.

Kenneth Schmidt, a Senoia man who's been with the department since December, was booked into the county jail about 10 hours after the Forest Park police received a phone call from Atlanta Medical Center where the woman was being treated. The police contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, requesting an investigation.

On Monday, Schmidt was charged with sexual assault, sodomy and rape.

According to warrants filed with the Clayton County Magistrate Court, Schmidt pulled over an adult female at about 12:15 a.m. Sunday, while on duty. He ticketed the woman, who is not being named because of the nature of the alleged crime, and had her car towed away.

The officer allegedly offered to give the woman a "courtesy ride to her residence, but instead and without her consent, transported her to a remote location," GBI Special Agent Brian Johnston wrote in the warrant application.

With the woman locked in the back of the patrol car, Schmidt allegedly drove her to the back end of a deserted, 5971 Ash Street shopping center, in Forest Park, and forced her to perform a lewd act on him. Then, "by intimidation and against the will of [the woman]," he raped her, according to the warrant.

During the investigation, Schmidt admitted to policy violations related to the allegations he had sex with the woman, and he was fired, said Maj. Chris Matson.

Schmidt was new to the department and on "new hire" probation at the time of the alleged incident. Matson said the department had put the 38-year-old through the regular, thorough routine of examinations for the hiring process, including interviews with previous employers, friends, family and neighbors, and a psychological exam.

According to the police department, nothing in the hiring exams indicated the officer might use the authority of the badge and gun to rape a woman in the middle of the night.

In a Tuesday morning press conference, Police Chief Dwayne Hobbs said he's never had anything like this happen in his 35 years at the law enforcement agency.

"Things like this," Matson said, "just blacken the eye of all law enforcement. We hope that people realize that no matter what you do to hire the best people possible to serve the citizens, people still act as individuals."

He described the allegations as "totally unexpected."

Schmidt is the third officer in Clayton County, in the last seven months, to face charges relating to sexual misconduct.

Last September, a newly hired officer at the Clayton County Police Department, 28-year-old Casey Carmichael, was allegedly caught in an Internet child predator sting operation. He had allegedly performed lewd acts in front of a Web camera connected to a department computer, while on duty. In December, 45-year-old Kenneth Alexander, a former Jonesboro Police Department officer and the former bodyguard for the school district's interim superintendent, was indicted by a grand jury on charges he inappropriately touched two 14-year-old girls, exposed himself to them and took pictures of them while they were half clothed.

Schmidt appeared before a Magistrate Court judge on Monday, and was denied bond. His probable cause hearing has been set for April 22.