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Former officer accused of rape gets bond

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

The former Forest Park police officer charged with rape was granted a bond of $150,000, after a judge heard testimony from his father and wife.

Kenneth Schmidt, 38, pulled a woman over while on duty, a little after midnight on April 6. While giving the woman a "courtesy ride" home, he allegedly took her to an abandoned parking lot, called her an offensive- and racial-charged name, and raped her. Schmidt's attorney, Michael G. Kam, contends the sex was consensual.

When the former officer walked into magistrate court wearing an orange jumpsuit Friday morning, his mother made a motion of pushing up her chin. Schmidt smiled slightly.

Kam said Schmidt is being kept in the Clayton County's jail's infirmary, to try and keep him safe from the other prisoners, and that he was threatened even as he was escorted through the jail's interior hallways to the courtroom.

"It's dangerous for him to be in jail," Kam said.

Kam asked Magistrate Court Judge Bobby Simmons to grant bond.

Schmidt was charged with rape, sodomy and sexual assault. At his first appearance, Schmidt was granted a bond of $20,000 on the sodomy charge and a bond of $20,000 on the sexual assault charge, but was denied bond on the rape charge.

At the Friday morning hearing, Kam argued there was no evidence Schmidt was a flight risk and no evidence he could be a threat to anyone.

"Mr. Schmidt sits here as an innocent man, that's what the law says," Kam said. "There's a presumption of innocence until that presumption is overcome by the state."

Schmidt's father, Gerhardt Schmidt, said his son would live with him in Peachtree City.

Schmidt's wife of 11 years, Mignon Schmidt, said she was standing by her husband, but that he needed to live with his father while some issues were worked out, and his step-sons learn to forgive him. "This has been a big blow to my family and I need to teach my boys about forgiveness," Mignon Schmidt said.

She described her husband to the court as a man who is "strictly by the book" and became a police officer last year because he "wanted to protect and serve."

"Did you ever know him to make derogatory remarks about African Americans or women?" Kam asked.

"No," she said.

"What about 'guy talk'? Did you ever hear him, with guys, make derogatory remarks about African Americans or women?"

"No, sir," she said. "Absolutely not."

The alleged victim, who is not being named because of the nature of the allegations, testified at the bond hearing, asking the judge not to allow Schmidt out of jail.

The woman testified on Tuesday, at his probable cause hearing, crying and describing in detail how Schmidt said she owed him, how he forced herself on him and how, afterward, he dropped her off in front of her house, as her children stood in the doorway, and said he would be back for more.

"He was to 'protect and serve' and he did this, I don't know what he'd do if he got out," the woman said at the bond hearing. "I'm really scared of him. I'm really scared for me and my kids ... He did say he was coming back."

Judge Simmons granted bond, reviewing the evidence and the state statute and saying, "I'm going to have to set bond in this case."

Simmons set it at $150,000 for the rape charge, a total of $190,000 for all the charges, and said he would require Schmidt to be monitored by GPS while he was out of jail, awaiting trial.