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Victim: Rape rumors not a rumor

An alleged victim has come forward in the case of a rapist purported to have been impersonating a police officer last month. The alleged victim, who contacted The Times on condition of anonymity Tuesday, reported the incident took place Wednesday, Jan. 19 along U.S. Highway 80 west of Demopolis.

The alleged assailant – described as a white male – reportedly used a flashing red light to halt her car, which was headed westbound on U.S. Highway 80 in the direction of Sumter County just beyond RockTenn.

The alleged victim described the vehicle that stopped hers as a dark-in-color car, citing the brightness of the red flashing light as preventing her from discerning more specific details of the automobile.

The alleged victim, a Choctaw County resident, indicated she never saw the assailant’s face but reported that he was wearing a denim shirt, denim pants, work boots and fingerless gloves. She reported that the assailant placed a bag over her head and drug her to his vehicle, striking her multiple times with the butt of a gun.

“He never once let me see him,” she said.

She reports that after the incident, he allegedly cast her into a nearby ditch and left her there. She claims to have driven herself home that evening and checked into a hospital the next morning.

Thursday, Jan. 27, Marengo County Sheriff Richard Bates told The Times that his staff was investigating claims that a woman had been raped in his jurisdiction but indicated that no victim had yet emerged.

The individual who spoke with The Times Tuesday indicated that she was discharged from the hospital Friday, Jan. 21 and filed an incident report with the Marengo County Sheriff’s Department in the days that followed, citing fear as the motivating factor for her delay.

Bates told The Times during a Jan. 27 interview that word of an alleged rape did not reach his office until Monday, Jan. 24. That date coincides with the story offered by the alleged victim, who said she filed a report the Monday after she was discharged from the hospital.

The Times requested Monday, Jan. 31 to view all incident reports filed with the Marengo County Sheriff’s Department in the month of January. Members of the office declined that request, citing Bates’ policy that incident reports were not to be released in an effort to protect the victims who filed them.

Bates did indicate last week that he sent a memo to law enforcement agencies in neighboring counties to inform them of the rumors of a rapist who had been passing himself off as a police officer.

The alleged victim said she chose to contact The Times in hopes of helping others avoid similar pitfalls.

“If they have a dark car or any unmarked car, wait until they get to a lighter place or call 911 if you can,” she advised. “I’ll tell every detail if it will keep somebody else from making the same mistake.”

Bates was out of town Tuesday and the sheriff’s office declined comment in his absence.