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Alleged rape victim testifies against cop

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

The woman cried and struggled to speak as she told the crowded Clayton County courtroom how a Forest Park Police officer allegedly raped her.

"I started pleading with him," she said, during the Tuesday morning hearing. "I just said, 'Please don't hurt me.' He said, 'Come on. Come on. All black [expletive] like ....... white meat.'"

The woman, who is not being named because of the nature of the alleged crime, was pulled over by Forest Park Police Officer Kenneth Schmidt a little after midnight on April 6, according to the Clayton County District Attorney's Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. She was given a number of traffic tickets, including a citation for driving on a suspended license. Her car was towed to her home, and Schmidt gave her a "courtesy ride."

Instead of taking her home, however, Schmidt allegedly took her to a deserted location, forced her to perform a lewd act on him and then allegedly raped her.

The 38-year-old Senoia man, who had been with the municipal department since December, is charged with sexual assault, sodomy and rape.

At the probable cause hearing Tuesday, Schmidt's lawyer, Michael G. Kam, of Newnan, said the sex was against department policy, but was consensual.

"There's no question that something happened that night that shouldn't have happened," Kam said. "The question is whether it is rape."

Schmidt was fired by the Forest Park department after admitting to violating department policies. He was wearing a faded orange jumpsuit, at the magistrate court hearing, his legs spread wide and straining against ankle shackles.

"The bottom line is, he spit on his badge," said John Turner, executive assistant district attorney. "He raped an innocent and honest woman ... When he stopped her that night, he had something specific on his mind, and that was rape."

The woman told the courtroom, and Clayton County Magistrate Judge Bobby Simmons, she was in the back seat of Schmidt's patrol car, that night, locked in. He was talking a lot, she said, and told her he was going to do her the favor of not seizing her vehicle, not taking her to jail -- but that that she owed him.

"He was playing with himself in the front seat," the woman said. "He promised he would get me back to my children and that my tickets would go away."

The woman's 13-year-old son, listening to her testify at the probable cause hearing, left the courtroom crying.

After the alleged rape, the woman said, she was taken to her Forest Park home and dropped off. Schmidt, she said, told her he would "be back for more."

She told a close friend, who had been baby-sitting while she was out that night, that she had been raped. The woman took her to Atlanta Medical Center.

The hospital, following protocol, found out where she had allegedly been raped and notified the appropriate police department. When the woman found out Forest Park police officers were coming to see her at the hospital, she left.

"They said Forest Park had called and they wanted to know who was the victim," the woman said. "They said Forest Park was coming ... I left because I was scared."

The police department, learning the suspected rapist was one of their own, turned the investigation over to the GBI. The department's chief, Dwayne Hobbs, described the incident as "horrible," and said that in the 35 years he's been an officer, he's never had anything like this happen before.

At the hearing, the judge found probable cause to charge Schmidt with rape, sodomy and sexual assault.

Simmons also said he would have found probable cause for charging Schmidt with kidnapping and assault, if he had been arrested on those charges.

Jewel Scott, district attorney, said her office will consider adding those charges and possibly others. The GBI is still investigating Schmidt, she said, and that it's possible he has used his authority as a law enforcement officer to attack other women who have yet to come forward.

Schmidt's bond hearing is set for Friday. Prosecutors said his case could be brought to a grand jury for indictment within a month.