Two counts Aggravated Rape and Sexual Battery dismissed in agreement During a plea hearing on Thursday, October 28, Robert Freeman Walker, Jr., 39, a former Gatlinburg Police Officer and Seymour resident was sentenced to one year in jail to be served in Sevier County for the charge of sexual oppression against a female citizen. The case was based on an event that occurred on or about August 11, 2002. Walker is a former United States Marine and was an employee of the Gatlinburg Police Department from 1996 to 2002. He was fired from his position in 2002 following the arrest. In the case of the State of Tennessee – vs – Robert Walker three counts were originally charged including Count 1 of Aggravated Rape, Count 2 of Sexual Battery and Count 3 of Sexual Oppression. In Count 1 and Count 2 the jury in the trial could not reach a unanimous decision with a 11-1 vote of not guilty resulting in a hung jury on June 30, 2004. On Count 3 of Sexual Oppression, Walker was found guilty. In the plea hearing Thursday, Walker waived his right to appeal to the first two counts. Sullivan County District Attorney H. Greenley Wells, Jr. stated they would not be retrying the case on Count 1 and Count 2. Walker was originally charged on case #9330 on January 28, 2003 with Rape, Sexual Battery, and Official Oppression in Sevier County Court with a dismissal pending. On May 27, 2003 Case #9361 the charge of Aggravated Rape, Sexual Battery and Official Oppression superceded the previous indictment. The hearing came before Sevier County Circuit Judge Rex Henry Ogle with Sevierville Attorney Jim Gass serving as the defendant’s attorney and District Attorney H. Greenley Wells, Jr., serving as prosecutor. While employed with the City of Gatlinburg Walker was accused of three prior bad acts according to court papers. The first two were approximately six years ago. Walker allegedly engaged in conduct that would constitute sexual harassment or harassment of a victim. On the third act, Walker allegedly engaged in conduct that would constitute sexual harassment or harassment of a victim on January 14, 2001. Walker’s bond was originally set at $60,000. According to court records, Robert Denney with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation stated that he would be against any form of probation for the defendant Wells stated, “The victim in the case and the investigating officer are appalled and do not agree to the resolution I am presenting in this case.” The State agreed on a one-year sentence with Walker waiving his right to a probation hearing. Wells stated, “For the defendant waiving his right to appeal in Count 3 of this case, the State will enter a dismissal on Count 1 and 2. That dismissal will be with prejudice unless he changes his mind at some point.” Judge Ogle made a point to be sure that Walker knew his rights for an appeal and that he understood what would happen by waiving those rights. Judge Ogle asked Walker if he understood that he is waiving his right to ask the court for a probation hearing and his right to appeal. Judge Ogle told Walker, “In addition to the right that you have a trial by jury you have an absolute right to appeal on all issues.” Walker said he understood and waived his right to appeals knowing that he also was waiving his rights to retrial the case even if errors occurred in the case. Judge Ogle continued, “By giving up your right to appeal you are giving up your right to any review of the alleged errors that you think the court, or the prosecutor, or anyone else committed in the trial of your case. Do you understand that?” Walker then conferred with his lawyer before again stating to Judge Ogle that he understood and that he did not have any questions. “As part of this agreement all the other charges are going to be dismissed with prejudice unless you try to in some way challenge the conviction for sexual oppression and the sentence that you have agreed upon here, otherwise if you do, then the state has the right to come back in and try you on those more serious charges, the class A and B felony charges. Do you understand that?” Judge Ogle asked. Walker again stated he understood. Judge Ogle then asked, “So you agree to not try to appeal, to the one year sentence, and to waive your right to appeal or have a probation hearing.” Walker said he agreed. Ogle then sentenced Walker to one year in jail to be served in Sevier County. After the sentencing Walker’s attorney asked for articles of clothing that were taken into evidence be released and replaced with photos which was agreed upon by Judge Ogle. The victim’s father, John Cahill was visibly upset at the conclusion of the hearing and stated, “A sexual monster dressed in a police uniform hiding behind a badge raped my daughter. With the information the jury had, they did they best they could, but for you folks that live in Sevier County in 108 days he’ll be out and I hope he doesn’t find any of your children.” Walker’s attorney Jim Gass stated, “With this resolution today, Rob brings closure to this long ordeal he and his family has suffered through, with which he has always maintained his innocence, that he committed no sexual crime against [the victim - name withheld.] The primary charged would command a day-to-day sentence of up to twenty-five years in a penitentiary. Of the jurors, 11 of the 12 felt he was not guilty of the charges and with this resolution those charges are dismissed. The jury found him guilty of the official oppression charge. The resolution today provides a sentence in this matter by agreement and brings all other issues to a close. A civil suit is still pending against Walker and the City of Gatlinburg.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.
Former police officer sentenced
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May 21, 2013 3:16 pm / no comments