Female officer blasts DA for dropping rape charge - WSMV News 4

Female officer blasts DA for dropping rape charge

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Julian Pirtle (WSMV) Julian Pirtle (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A female police officer who said she was raped and strangled by a fellow Metro officer said she’s baffled by the district attorney’s office decision to drop the rape charge.

The News 4 I-Team exposed in 2016 that the female officer secretly recorded her ex-boyfriend, Julian Pirtle, when he came to the school where she works days after the crime.

In that audio, Pirtle referred to himself as “the Hulk” because of his temper.

Just as Pirtle was set to go to trial, he entered a guilty plea for aggravated assault for choking the woman. But as part of a plea deal, the rape charge was dropped.

“She's a police officer, and she now has seen the side as a victim. She sees the results and the way some victims are treated in the system. She is disappointed in the results in the case,” said attorney Jack Byrd, who represented the female officer in her order of protection against the officer.

In an email to the I-Team, the female officer wrote, “Though the aggressor pled guilty to an Aggravated Assault which nearly took my life and openly acknowledged the severity of his actions, I’m baffled at having no consideration in a plea agreement that drops a prior conviction for order of protection violation, dismisses sexual assault, removes all safeguards and essentially renders me unprotected. Being a victim made me realize I was owed justice that I’ll never receive.”

Doug Thurman, the assistant district attorney who helped prosecute the case, said the decision to drop the rape charge wasn’t made lightly.

“We put a lot of consideration, a lot of work into the case,” Thurman said.

Thurman said while there was evidence to show Pirtle strangled the female officer, there was none to prove she’d been raped.

The female officer did not report the rape until Pirtle came to her workplace two days later and she recorded their conversation.

According to that audio, Pirtle admits to being drunk and angry.

"I was so [expletive] drunk,” Pirtle said in the recording.

"You were drunk?" the female officer said. “And the look in your eyes?"

“What did you see?" Pirtle asked.

"What did I see? It looked like you wanted to kill me. I have never felt that before,” she said.

She then said, "Did you know for two days that I could not swallow? For you to know what you were doing.”

"I didn't. I don't think you understand that there are moments of intense rage,” Pirtle said.

Later in the conversation, he said, “It's like - why do you think they call me the Hulk?”

"I don't know, but that doesn't give you the right to put your hands on me,” she said.

“They don't call me Bruce Banner for no reason. It's not an excuse,” Pirtle said.

Pirtle did not respond to questions by the I-Team at a court date last year about what he said in the audio.

Thurman said there wasn’t enough in the audio to prove rape had occurred.

“Obviously he makes comments about himself being angry, and that supports the aggravated assault, but in terms of the rape charge, we just did not have the evidence,” Thurman said.

“Do you have concerns about the fact that since the rape charge was dropped, that other women will be slow to come forward because of this case?” the I-Team asked.

“Certainly that is a concern, and hopefully that does not dissuade women from coming forward,” Thurman said.

Thurman said while it’s always difficult to report a rape, victims should report what happened to them as soon as possible to evidence can be gathered by law enforcement.

Here is the female officer’s full statement to the News 4 I-Team:

In my life, there are no losses — I either win or I learn. While I am proud that I defended my position to the end, I ultimately endured hard truths that proved political influence and our flawed justice system have voices that supersede the needs of domestic violence and sexual assault victims. Though the aggressor pled guilty to an Aggravated Assault which nearly took my life and openly acknowledged the severity of his actions, I’m baffled at having no consideration in a plea agreement that drops a prior conviction for order of protection violation, dismisses sexual assault, removes all safeguards and essentially renders me unprotected. Being a victim made me realize I was owed justice that I’ll never receive. But that’s not the ending of my story... I am moving forward with greater understanding of why so many domestic violence and sexual assaults go unreported, as victims are often dragged through lengthy litigation processes only to be unheard in the end.  I have learned that no matter the outcome, my survival makes me a victor. I aspire to use my experience to amplify the voices of victims and empower them to understand their freedom doesn’t rest in the decisions of others. Regardless of corruption and injustice, you have the power to speak your truth and set yourself free!

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