Ex-officer arrested on charge of rape

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 11, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – Former Vidalia police officer Rafael Cook was arrested Monday in connection with an alleged rape.

Cook, 23, of 4717 O’Keefe St. in Bossier City, La., surrendered to Master Trooper Richard Ortego at the Concordia Parish Jail and was booked on charges of giving false statements, malfeasance in office and simple rape. He was released Monday afternoon on a $30,000 bond.

An investigation by Louisiana State Police detectives revealed that on Jan. 16, Cook drove a woman, who had posted bond after her arrest on a charge of driving while intoxicated, from the Police Department to her home.

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After arriving at the woman’s home, Cook then allegedly had sexual intercourse with the woman. &uot;There was no force involved,&uot;&160;said Senior Trooper Steve Childers.

Cook is also accused of giving false written statements regarding the incident to Police Chief Billy Hammers and Investigator Bobby Sheppard during the investigation.

As the result the Vidalia Board of Aldermen on March 14 fired Cook, who had been working for the department for just over one year, for falsifying reports.

Hammers said the department’s policy on transporting people who have bonded out has been changed to help make sure that such incidents do not happen again.

&uot;Now, police don’t transport someone out of the city limits unless they first contact their supervisor,&uot; Hammers said.

But Hammers said that no policy can completely safeguard against such incidents.

&uot;You can’t eliminate human error,&uot; he said. &uot;That’s what he (Cook) is guilty of, if anything … a mistake on his part. But he hasn’t been proven guilty of anything yet.&uot;