According to Spalding County Sheriff Dee Stewart, the incident was initially reported to the GPD. Upon learning that the incident is alleged to have taken place in unincorporated Spalding County, Stewart’s office was notified of the allegation Jan. 22.
Stewart then notified Capt. Tony Ranieri, lead investigator of the SCSO’s Criminal Investigation Division, of the accusations brought forth against the officer.
“The complaint was made to the Police Department and the Police Department reported it to us,” Ranieri said.
Ranieri said because the case involves a police officer, he contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Jan. 25 and requested its assistance in the investigation.
A press release issued Tuesday by the GPD stated, “Due to the nature of the accusation, Chief Frank Strickland placed the officer on administrative leave with pay per the GPD’s standard operating procedure. If the crime is proven, the officer will be facing criminal penalties and revocation of his law enforcement certification by the Georgia Peace Officer’s Standards and Training Council.”
The GPD also declined to identify either the female accuser or the officer.
“The allegations involve a rape accusation, meaning that neither the victim nor the accused can be identified at this time,” the press release said.
However, Capt. Tony Ranieri, lead investigator with the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Investigation Division, identified the accused officer as Cpl. Charles Allen Burleson.
“The officer is cooperating fully with the investigation,” Ranieri said.
He did confirm that the incident is not alleged to have occurred while Burleson was on duty.
According to the GPD press release, its Office of Professional Standards is also conducting an investigation into the allegations.
When asked what bearing that has on the criminal investigation, Ranieri said, “None. The Griffin Police Department is conducting its investigation on the administrative violations, if any are found. In other words, any violations of departmental policies.”
He went on to explain that the criminal investigation is under the jurisdiction of only the SCSO and the GBI.
“The criminal investigation is being handled by the Sheriff’s Office and the GBI,” Ranieri said.
Ranieri said he is uncertain how long the investigation may take to conclude.
“We have some more interviews to do. We may know more (today), depending on how far (investigators) get, Ranieri said.
Spalding County Sheriff Dee Stewart said that because this is an ongoing investigation, no further details can be provided at this time.