Charges dropped against police employee

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 30, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – Rape charges have been dropped against an employee of the Natchez Police Department because the alleged victim now says the crime did not take place.

Dorothy Poole, 20, of Natchez, signed an affidavit stating she had not been raped and she did not have sexual contact with W.D. Harris, 43, of 38 Myrtle Drive, Natchez, said Concordia Parish Assistant District Attorney Ronnie McMillin.

According to McMillan, Poole wrote in the affidavit that she made up the story because she was &uot;angry with W.D. (Harris) because he would not give me money for an apartment.&uot;

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The fabricated crime was said to have taken place Oct. 9 on a levee near Vidalia.

According to sheriff’s reports, Poole originally said Harris asked her out and, after picking up some food, he drove her to the levee and raped her. Harris was arrested Oct. 9 and charged with forcible rape.

According to Harris, Poole used to work for him and had a habit of calling to ask for food. On the night of the alleged incident, he said, &uot;I was trying to help her because she was hungry.&uot;

After getting some food, Harris said she pulled a box cutter on him and demanded money while in his vehicle.

When they got to levee, &uot;she was still demanding money and cried out ‘rape’ when I tried to push her (out of the car),&uot; Harris said.

&uot;I was trying to stop her from hurting me, basically,&uot; Harris said.

Officials never filed formal charges against Harris, whose Wednesday preliminary hearing was cancelled because of the developments in the case, McMillin said.

McMillan said such false reports diminish the crime for people who actually are raped, McMillin said.

&uot;This is not unusual, unfortunately,&uot; he said. &uot;The one’s really hurt here are the people who are in fact mistreated,&uot; and have crimes fabricated against them.

McMillin could not be certain if Poole, whose name can now be released because she is no longer considered a rape victim, would ever face charges for her actions.

Harris is a civilian employee of the Natchez Police Department. He is a community services specialist who works to enforce ordinances regarding litter and abandoned cars.

At the time of his arrest, the City of Natchez suspended Harris with pay.

&uot;It was kind of devastating to me and (my) family,&uot; Harris said. &uot;I just want to get my life back to normal.&uot;

Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff said he could not comment on Harris’s employment status because it was a personnel issue. Huff referred questions to city attorney Walter Brown, who could not be reached for comment Thursday.