Scheduling conflict causes Cook trial delay

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 17, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – The trial of a an ex-Vidalia policeman accused of raping a woman then falsifying statements about the incident will be postponed, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

The trial was originally scheduled for June 25 but had to be postponed because defendant Rafael Cook’s attorney, Bobby Manning of Monroe, has another court appearance at the same time, according to Assistant District Attorney Ronnie McMillin.

A new trial date had not been scheduled as of Friday.

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Cook, 24, was fired from the Vidalia Police Department two months after the Jan. 16, 2000, incident, following an investigation by the Louisiana State Police.

Cook, who is now living in Bossier City, is charged with simple rape, malfeasance in office and false swearing for the purpose of violating public health or safety.

A telephone listing could not be found for Cook, and his attorney, Bobby Manning of Monroe, has declined to comment on the case.

&uot;I just wish this would hurry up and end,&uot; said Cook’s alleged victim, Sandra Taylor of Concordia Parish, who said she is still &uot;a nervous wreck&uot; from the alleged incident.

A State Police investigation revealed that on Jan. 16, 2000, Cook drove Taylor, who had been released on bond after her arrest on a charge of driving while intoxicated, from the Concordia Parish Jail to her home.

After arriving at the woman’s home, Cook then had sexual intercourse with the woman, but no force was involved, said Senior Trooper Steve Childers.

Cook is being charged with false swearing and malfeasance in office because he allegedly gave false statements regarding the incident to Police Chief Billy Hammers and then-investigator Bobby Sheppard during the investigation.

As a result, the Vidalia Board of Aldermen on March 14, 2000, fired Cook, who had been working for the department for just over one year, for falsifying reports.

Taylor has said she believes that after Cook took her home, he had sex with her when she was too incapacitated to give consent.