Lawsuit: Tennessee cop used rape investigations to find sex partners -- willing or not
Karl Fields

A Tennessee police officer has been accused of stalking and sexually assaulting a rape victim whose case he was supposed to be investigating.


According to court documents filed this week, the woman accuses the city of Chattanooga of negligence in training and supervising Officer Karl Fields.

In the lawsuit, the woman says that Fields asked to meet her at El Meson Restaurante on June 25 to discuss her case, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported. During the dinner, Fields told her that he was sexually attracted to her, and wanted a relationship.

The lawsuit asserts that Fields pulled the woman into a men's bathroom, forced her up against a wall, and kissed her. The incident triggered a panic attack because the woman had been raped in a bathroom just a month earlier.

After she escaped Fields' advances at the restaurant, she says that he drove her home drunk, and then fondled her legs and breasts. He agreed to go home after telling her that he was too drunk to have sex.

"Were you okay with the things that I did to you last night?" the officer allegedly asked in a text message the next day.

The lawsuit also alleges that Fields often watched the woman through her window, and would text her messages about what she was wearing. Fields reportedly called the woman 73 times in one night alone.

"[The victim] felt sickened and disgusted by Fields' texts, comments and stalking behavior," attorney Stuart James notes in the lawsuit. "But because he was the lead investigator on her case, she was afraid to make him angry for fear he would not use his best efforts to put her perpetrator behind bars."

According to the court documents, Fields said he would often find dates through his sexual assault investigations. In one case, he had sex with the mother of a 14-year-old rape victim. The father in that case had previously told the Times Free Press that Fields had been observed flirting with his ex-wife. The case was never solved.

WTVC reported that Fields was already under investigation by the Chattanooga Police Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Fields had been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

He was also suspended for 14 days without pay in 2006 for driving while drunk.

Attorney Jerry Tidwell, who represents Fields, told WTVC that the lawsuit was premature.

Watch the video below from WTVC, broadcast Oct. 14, 2014.

Watch the video below from the Times Free Press, broadcast Oct. 14, 2014.