McMinn County detective suspended for procedural error in rape investigation

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A McMinn County detective was suspended after driving an alleged juvenile rape victim to receive an abortion. According to Sheriff Joe Guy, Detective Greg Earps was investigating an alleged rape case involving a 17-year-old woman in March which evidence indicated had resulted in an early-term pregnancy.

During the course of the investigation, the juvenile shared with her parents and Detective Earps that she wished to have an abortion. With the consent of the juvenile’s parents but without clearing the transportation with a supervisor, Earps offered to provide transportation to the medical procedure with the intent of collecting DNA evidence that could possibly be used to prosecute the offender.

The sheriff says that Earps had obtained a search warrant for the evidence.

“Unfortunately, Detective Earps made an error in judgment and policy at this point,” said Sheriff Guy. “According to our policy, an officer should clear a transport of a juvenile through a supervisor, which Detective Earps failed to do, even though he had the parents’ permission.”

Guy then goes on to share his personal moral opposition with abortions, and that Earps “had made a serious error in judgment in being involved in any way with the procedure when other avenues and resources were available.” The incident was shared with the District Attorney General’s Office, “who also agreed that, although it was an error in judgment, there was no criminal law broken.”

Sheriff Guy told WTVC that his deputy didn’t notify supervisors of the, “unique requests and needs of the victim,” and that he would have preferred if county vehicles weren’t used in the process.

According to the sheriff, Earps was suspended without pay for three days, received administrative counseling and attended review training on evidence collection and child sex abuse investigations, and was reassigned to work cases other than those involving juveniles. Earps has been with the McMinn County Sheriff’s Office for 25 years and Guy says that he has never received any other disciplinary action.

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